Future Urban Living

Report from the Birmingham Policy Commission on Future Urban Living

Taking all of the evidence together, the Commissioners advocate the following six recommendations for change:

  1. Citizens should be empowered to combine with those who govern and other city stakeholders to create a City Narrative that describes their city’s history, its present context and its visions for the (far) future, via a transparently democratic process that delivers consensus across all sections of the community.
  2. Citizens should be empowered to be instrumental in delivering this City Narrative, and be entrusted to do so.
  3. There is a need for a system that creates inspirational local leadership, and this would best be achieved via either mayors or leadership groups elected on the basis of an ability to deliver the City Narrative.
  4. Local government leaders in turn need to be empowered by the triple devices of a balanced degree of devolution of power from national government, an ability to raise finances locally and structures that enable effective cooperation with organisations beyond its boundaries (regional, national and global).
  5. Cities need financial and business models that allow them to experiment, enable them to invest for the long-term, and facilitate the capture of economic, social and environmental returns on investment.
  6. There should be a radical upgrade in the role of planners to promote creative, long-term, thinking on urban sustainability and resilience, and to enable more organic growth within that strategic framework. In this role planners should act as integrators of urban practitioners and other urban stakeholders.

Commission member and co-author

Published 2014 6o pages

2014 Future Urban Living
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