2015, Birmingham, now is the time

Well, having avoided writing anything on here for a while now, it really is time to get back into the swing of things. 2015 is a year of promise, of new beginnings, new starts, big changes, new ideas, progress, the eternal optimism that I always have for things even if it doesn’t rub off on everyone else!!

Birmingham in 2015. It is going to be a big year. It was meant to be about all the things happening in the city centre that would act as a catalyst for the wider city region. We will be seeing:
– new New Street station
– Grand Central
– the revamped Mailbox
– the Midland Metro City Centre extension
– work on Paradise has begun (and the sad loss of the Central Library)

We are also seeing the city kick into life excited by the promise of the arrival of high speed rail and the growth of our local airport. The city centre is doing well and it is vital that we see this spread out to the whole city.

But as usual, thing don’t always go to plan. The Coalition Government, in its twilight weeks, are taking localism into a new sphere with the forced 2017 all-out council elections following the recent Kerslake review. The Council is suffering and the city is suffering as a result. Rather than point any kind of blame, I would hope that the various actors involved realise what this is doing to the people of Birmingham, look at the bigger picture and take a more constructive approach fixed on that rather than party politics, pride and personal emotion/ambition etc etc.

I still believe Birmingham is going to have a great 2015 and the rest of the world will see a fabulous city emerging – even if Fox News have a somewhat bizarre take on how the city might be!!! Honestly…

So, exciting times for Birmingham and a number of schemes, projects and ideas are coming that may not be the limelight-hogging glamour of New Street and Grand Central but could make a big difference. The kickstarter success of Impact Hub Birmingham is a great sign, while we are seeing potential for transport policy to really significantly benefit our city with more 20mph zones, more cycling encouraged, the (hopeful) growth of Midland Metro, of Sprint Bus Rapid Transit, the continuing success of our railways and perhaps some new stuff coming in that could transform how we get around…

Plenty to revisit here in the near future as I hope to be sharing some writing soon on intelligent mobility and the future of transport… My calls for 2015 are:

– Birmingham blows away world cities as multiple developments open for business across the city centre transforming it as a place to do business and to visit;
– the City Council will turn the corner, it has to, and I believe it can;
– following the General Election, the new Government will put serious effort into boosting the regional cities and enabling decentralisation from Whitehall to Birmingham and the other major cities;
– Birmingham becomes a major destination, which boosts our confidence as a city as well as our local wealth and wellbeing;
– our city develops a much stronger focus on how the city centre relates to and interacts with all of the rest of the city – something that I feel is very important and must be addressed for all of our sakes.

I hope everyone is getting through January ok – i noticed a couple of days ago that at last the days are getting longer again, it makes such a big difference 🙂

SO, here’s to 2015, now is the time – let’s do this!

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