The long-term vision for Birmingham was the topic of a recent panel discussion, reported in full in the August issue of Midlands Business Insider magazine.
Hosted by DLA Piper, the panel featured GHA Director Dav Bansal and seven other experts from across the region:
- Chris Reeves, Head of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, Horiba Mira
- Iain Thomson, Head of Communications and Investor Relations, Harworth Group
- Peter Lakin, Director, AECOM
- Simon Delahunty-Forrest, Head of City Design and Development, Birmingham City Council
- Simon Jeffrey, Policy Officer, Centre for Cities
- Steve Hird, Managing Director, Duchy Homes West Midlands
- Trevor Ivory, Partner, DLA Piper
In front of an audience, the panel debated topics such as how demographic changes are driving the way cities look, how far in to the future we should be looking, future-proofing developments, how developers can get the most out of transport networks, and the impact of autonomous vehicles.
Speaking on the topic of how developers can get the most out of transport networks, Dav said “In cities like Birmingham we must create schemes where the car isn’t the main transport option, and there is good connectivity to public transport. We’re already designing for the falling use of cars. We need a vision where by 2035 not a single vehicle is coming in to city. HS2 is very important to Birmingham and the Midlands: the regions need to be better connected because London is overheating.”
The best way to plan for the medium to long-term said Simon Delahunty-Forrest is to “ensure there’s a mix of residential development, not a glut of one-bedroom flats in one area and loads of two-bedroom units in another. Urban Splash’s Port Loop scheme is a great example of mixed tenures, while the planned Smithfield development is a family-led development. We’d like to see more of that.
Dav added “The city has a good mix of uses. The Bullring was once just a shopping destination, now people are living there. People want to live near shops, cinemas and theatres because of convenience. Gentrification is a risk to any thriving city – the very thing that makes the DNA of a place gets pushed out. The best way developers can overcome this is to engage with the existing community as early as possible and get their input.”
Photo copyright Insider Media.