Think over the coming months and years this might need its own thread. This is quite major news for Birmingham and the UK.
Birmingham boldly goes for total revamp
Lisa Pilkington18/04/2006 09:00
The UK's second city is to hire a team to plan the redevelopment of its whole city centre.
Birmingham council is shortly to advertise in OJEU seeking a masterplanner to draw up a 10-year strategy for development within the city's middle ring road.
This is an area of 2,000 acres, making it the biggest masterplanning exercise in the UK for decades.
Architects such as Terry Farrell & Partners and HOK which have experience of masterplanning for large cities are expected to apply, and would be likely to bring in transport and development consultants at a later stage.
Clive Dutton, director of planning and regeneration at Birmingham council, said: "We want to focus on the 800ha within the middle ring road and want to be proactive rather than reactive about the regeneration.
"The masterplan must improve design and the public realm, and address how to interconnect the city centre and make it more cohesive by providing a new transport model.
"There are two parts to this exercise. The first is strategic and the latter will be more detailed. The first element will influence the second."
Birmingham's initiative comes as the future of the UK's cities as engines of economic growth moves higher up the government's agenda.
ODPM minister of communities and local government David Miliband is expected to publish a white paper this summer.
Garry Colligan, head of urban design at Terry Farrell & Partners, said: "Masterplans have been done for other cities, such as Manchester, after the IRA bombing [in 1996], and in Derby, Liverpool and Sheffield. But this is much bigger it's a very bold move.
"However, it's part of a trend. Cities are saying to themselves, 'we need to take a more proactive role in design and development planning.' Farrell is definitely interested in applying."
According to Dutton, Birmingham wants to have consultants in place by early summer, ready to start work in the autumn.