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Delegates in preparation of the event
Birmingham City Council's Philip Nell addresses the event
Dav Bansal addressed the event of the subject of sustainable growth

Dav Bansal addressed the event of the subject of sustainable growth

Tow people talking

James Watts from Arup, a speaker at the event, and Anna Parker of Intervention Architecture

The Digbeth tours took in numerous regeneration projects and opportunities

The Digbeth tours took in numerous regeneration projects and opportunities

Port Loop tour led by Howells

Birmingham Moving Forward

How can Birmingham drive “Forward” in the current climate? How will the city deliver its zero-carbon future? What are the key drivers, opportunities, and visions for Birmingham 2040? These and many other questions were explored and debated at an event hosted at our Birmingham studio in collaboration with Architecture Today and Schuco, focussing on “Our Future City: Central Birmingham 2040” and its bold ambition to create a fair, inclusive, and green place that benefits all the city’s communities.

With “bold proposals” that include more than doubling the size of the city core, the number of new green spaces and the densification of the city centre, an audience of architects, artists, consultants and business leaders heard from advocates and stakeholders in the city, including our Partners, Dav Bansal and Glenn Howells. Furthermore, representatives from Birmingham City Council, LendLease, Urban Splash, Birmingham Museums Trust, Aston University, Arup and Arcadis all outlined the challenges for the construction, cultural and education sectors but also the abundance of development opportunities in Birmingham, driven by the arrival of HS2.

“Let’s not muck about. It is a serious time for Bham. The vision in Our Future City Plan is optimistic, bold, hopeful and that’s what we need.”
—Sara Wajid, Co-CEO, Birmingham Museum Trust

In the morning, talks and walking tours—led by Howells team members—explored planned regeneration projects in Digbeth at Smithfield, Birmingham Innovation Quarter, Tea Factory, Loc Studios, Typhoo Wharf and cultural venues at The Bond, Fazeley Street and Custard Factory. In the afternoon, we explored projects delivered or underway in talks and a city tour around Port Loop, Paradise, Centenary Square and Brindley Place.

Despite the recent headlines, the unifying and positive message was that Birmingham is living up to its motto of “Forward”; that it is a city that is open for business and delivering new job creation, and a city that can demonstrate what can be achieved outside the capital with targeted investment through public and private partnership, collaboration and an injection of creativity.

“If the city looks the same today as it does in five, ten or 15-years-time, then we will have failed. We must celebrate our creativity, diversity, placemaking, and opportunities. This city is on a journey and I hope people will see the aspiration and the vision and how bold Birmingham is going to be.”
—Simon Delahunty-Forrest, Assistant Director Planning & Development at Birmingham City Council

Isabel Allen, Editor of Architecture Today, said, “Architecture Today was delighted to play a role in the conversation about Birmingham’s future. There is a real sense of excitement and energy aligned with the clear vision set out by public and private leadership. The triple whammy of optimism, focus and ambition is a hard act to beat.”

A full write-up of the event, including interviews with the speakers, will be featured in June’s issue of Architecture Today.

Birmingham 2040

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