In 2006 Leader of the Birmingham, UK City Council Mike Whitby commissioned a study to move the city towards sustainability and revitalize the city centre. Dubbed the “Big City Plan,” the goals include decreasing the city’s carbon emissions by 60% by 2026, revamping mass transit systems, and moving the city towards self-sufficiency with livable and walkable neighborhoods, local produce and products sold locally, and homegrown industries to support the residents.
Here’s some city-supplied propaganda for Birmingham’s proposed changes:
Stef Lewandowski ran a great post on his blog where he cites an expert’s opinion about the Masterplan: “To achieve the City’s own target of 60% reduction in emissions by 2026 there can be no cars within the ringroad at all from 2026.”
It remains to be seen whether Birmingham will go completely car-free or if they’ll adopt the more moderate car congestion charges, similar to those in London.
The Big City Plan officially launched at the end of February, 2008. Whitby explicitly asked for input from residents to help shape the city’s directions. Now’s your chance, Birmingham:
…this plan is not just about repositioning our city for those who wish to visit, relocate and invest, it is more importantly about how the citizens of Birmingham want to see their future. An opportunity comes around once in a generation to produce a plan on this scale. We will be looking to consult everyone who has an interest in the city. This Charter is our statement of intent, setting out the scope of the BIG CITY PLAN which will evolve over the next 18 months. We thought that it would be better to talk around ideas rather than consultation with a blank slate…
These ideas have been shaped by existing policy, such as Birmingham Vision 2026 and the Birmingham Prospectus as well as by discussions with international experts and The Big City Team, a group of people from Birmingham, who share our passion for the future of the city. We thank them for their efforts.
This is just the start. We want more people to join in deﬁning our future.
As we at Carectomy have always said, limiting car use is only one interconnected part of the solution to our cities’ and our world’s problems. Smart urban design, livable cities, good mass transit, and people willing to change their behaviors all must work together, with government support, to make real changes. Birmingham looks to be on the right track and perhaps will be a model which other cities can follow to reinvent themselves.
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