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Ambitious manifesto launched to create a greener Birmingham
19th April 2022

A green masterplan for the heart of Birmingham has been created by Broadway Malyan aimed at providing a blueprint for a safer, healthier and more attractive city centre.

The Going Green plan, which has been developed in partnership with Birmingham city centre’s Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), takes a strategic approach to greening the city to ensure maximum benefits for residents and businesses including improved air quality, better health and wellbeing and engaging streetscapes.

A ‘toolkit’ of interventions enables local decision makers to make informed choices about implementing green infrastructure across the city. These scale financially and across ambition from enhancing existing green infrastructure such as planters, to installing wildlife ponds, living lamp posts and city scale parks.

Danny Crump, Director of Urbanism at Broadway Malyan, said: “Often we see reports with fantastic recommendations, but which don’t consider the real-life challenges, such as securing funding or planning permission. We wanted the proposals in our masterplan to be as deliverable as possible.

“Birmingham is one of many urban centres across the globe facing huge challenges. The slow Covid-19 recovery still depletes highstreets and city centre life. The impact of the climate crisis is more and more visible, as is the world-wide loss of biodiversity. As urban designers, of huge importance to us is how city centres affect not just people’s health and wellbeing, but their safety and quality of life. If we truly want to have an impact on these shared issues, we can no longer afford to provide blue-sky thinking. We must come up with a clear roadmap for change.

“Creating a Green Infrastructure Masterplan for the City Core provides the unique opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of GI in addressing global challenges, and to reinstate the status of the city centre as a driver of commercial, creative, scientific, political and cultural life that influences way beyond its borders.”

Birmingham’s Colmore and Retail BIDs, which operate in the city core, commissioned Broadway Malyan, who worked with both BIDs and local stakeholders including Birmingham City University and University of Birmingham, to create the masterplan.

The Going Green Masterplan received £50,000 funding from Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) as part of the Towns and Local Centres programme as clean growth is one of GBSLEP’s key strategic delivery themes and this toolkit will encourage the ‘greening’ of the existing built environment.

Louise Brooke-Smith, GBSLEP Board Director for Place, added: “Creating greener and cleaner places for all of us is not a choice but a priority if we are to help our city-centres reach net zero targets and mitigate the impacts of climate breakdown.

“This work builds upon our partnership with Colmore and Retail BIDs to ensure we help catalyse investment into the city centre. Our ambition is to create places that are greener and a city that is sustainable.

“After two years of intermittent lockdowns, it is really important we do what we can to make spaces welcoming for businesses, workers, visitors and residents. GBSLEP is committed to driving inclusive economic growth and this is another way in which we have used our unique structure of bringing together public, private and academic partners to make a difference. I look forward to seeing the toolkit applied to green infrastructure improvements.”