Tag Archives: Big City Plan

The Birmingham Big City Plan: Digital Challenge

Please try and make change the scenery between the Bullring and Digbeth

Please try and change the scenery between the Bullring and Digbeth

The Big City Plan is set to reshape the way we see Birmingham, through its economic, social and environmental future over the next 20 years.

The Birmingham Big City Plan: Digital Challenge gives you the chance to show how you want to reshape and revitalise the city centre.

The challenge is to show how you think Birmingham should develop over the next 20 years through photography and film. The photo/film you take could be an idea for the whole city or even just a local area, and the more imaginative the idea, the better. Maybe you feel Birmingham would benefit from more communal areas, better public transport, it could be anything you want it to be.

Every entry is welcome, and at any level, whether youre a professional or purely just love to be creative. There is no particular image/video quality needed so you can use a Digital SLR right down to your own mobile phone.

The closing date for this competition is 20 April 2009. For more details on categories and how to enter, please follow the links. Be sure to read the competition rules fully before entering.

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Filed under Big Cat Group, Big Cat Social, Big News

Big City Plan needs a Big City Philosophy

I, and many others, attended the Big City Plan meeting at the Council House last night to hear about the Council’s and the public’s ideas for the City. Before I go any further, I think it is worth mentioning that allowing citizens the chance to influence how their city should grow is a very encouraging thing for the Council to practise.

After Philip Singleton’s talk about the City Plan, the great unhosed mob of civvies filed into their groups to discuss problems and solutions while staff wrote down all the thoughts culminating in 3 main points that would presented back to the council.

To give my own point a plug, I feel strongly that physical communications must be set up between the BullRing and The Custard Factory because if you didn’t know what was down in Digbeth you would never go down, simply because the adjoining walk is not a particularly inviting one.

But by far the best idea, I thought, came from John Mostyn (or at least his team) that the Big City Plan needs a philosophy that we can then act upon. One of the problems Birmingham has had in its regeneration is a lack of cohesion and common thread between the seperate areas of regeneration as well as a lack of sympathy with the culture of independent marketers and establishments. Personally, I think the city should base its philosophy around the independent creative community creating visual arts centres and helping the community have a national platform to show off the city’s talent. On a slightly bigger scale, I also think a international landmark would be a great way to turns eyes on to Birmingham.

Once a philosophy is agreed upon, it would become significantly easier to decide on architecture, angle, what people to target for population growth, amenities and cultural hotspots. Lets hope Mike Whitby and his crew don’t let us down at the final hurdle by ignoring his citizens, particularly with regards to the Big City Philosophy.

Big hello to everyone who attended by the way.

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Filed under Big Business, Big Cat Group, Big Cat Social, Digbeth

Birmingham’s young and talented to showcase creativity!

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Please welcome the first post from our esteemed fashion correspondent, Natalie Hartland.

I was recently reading a blog on the Midlands Young Fashion Designer Awards returning for its second year, what a great opportunity for talent hailing from the midlands to showcase what amazing talent they have.

Birmingham has the basis to becoming the most stylish city, with fashion students coming from London to Birmingham to study fashion, but what is there to keep them here?

With a string of big name chains taking over the majority of Birmingham’s shopping centre and high streets, what is the future for Birmingham’s young fashion designer? I fear the answer is a train ticket to the big smoke to join the battle of young fashion house wannabes, competing for a job in one of the big names that consume every square inch of Birmingham’s retail district.

Thankfully this problem hasn’t gone unnoticed with the Big City Plan commenting on the city’s ‘bland’ collection of shops, with most being big name stores which are consistent with every other town and city across the country – hopefully this means something will be done about it!!

Does anyone remember Covet? A cool independent store supplying Topshop Bullring with its vintage collection, the little gem that was hidden deep within the Custard Factory sadly passed away, as did the Topshop vintage collection! More stores like this would allow our young designers a promising chance to not only show case or sell their collections but to start their career without leaving their hometown.

What Birmingham is in desperate need of is unique independent stores such as Cow – the big yellow vintage store on Digbeth high street, more stores like this will give the city individuality and style it needs.

Im glad to see that this problem is being taken into consideration within the Big City Plan, with even Clive Dutton backing it in the hope Birmingham’s shops will help Brum in the race to become one of the top 20 livable cities in the world!!

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Filed under Big Cat Social, Big Questions, Digbeth, Eastside

Bolshevics, Beatles, Birmingham?: How much of an effect can the Big City Plan have?

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The new proper Big City Plan, for proper people put together by Jon Bounds, Nick Booth, Nicky Getgood, Julia Gilbert and Michael Grimes will with  create a true dialogue between, as Pete Ashton has put it, ‘the governing and the governed’. It is set on the perfect platform for those in the know but how do we get the local public at large to look at the piece, and thats the real irony; that most of the people affected by the plan are the same people that would probably have little knowledge, access or inclination towards the project. But do we need them?

Can a hardcore group of people, set with a goal and the tools to apply themselves, truly make a difference on a large scale in a short space of time? The old cliche and pessimistic view that only the people in power can make the difference, I think, is a massive untruth.

Any large cultural and mind changing events or eras have been created, implemented and spearheaded by a small, strong, talented and, most importantly, fiercely determined collection of ‘little’ people all focusing their attention on one goal, a huge ‘stiletto’ effect.

Look at the Bolshevics and The Beatles. The two groups that had the most dramatic effect on politics and culture in the most important and advanced century of humankind. Both of them were short on numbers, money,and  power but both had one clear goal that they achieved in an incredibly short space of time. The knock on and immediate effects of their efforts can be quantified on a biblical scale.

So can this apply to Birmingham’s Big City Plan? I’m obviously not suggesting that Nick Booth is the new John Lennon and nor am I comparing Jon Bounds to Lenin, but they might just reiterate my point that you don’t need power and numbers to make a huge difference to a community, whatever the size.

We have only three weeks to get all our thoughts out there, so if you read this please visit the Big City Plan website and get your head in it, and change Birmingham for the better.

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