Birmingham’s open city approach

Narrowboats in Birmingham by neilalderney123

Birmingham is a magnet for new communities, we may not have all the answers but we must be doing something right as the city is home (for how ever long) to individuals from over 187 different nationalities.

Commitment two of the Social Inclusion Process Green Paper focuses on embracing super diversity, in particular recommendation 2.4: Ensure Birmingham develops an ‘open city’ approach, promote its self as a welcoming and inclusive city and offering opportunity for intercultural activities.

The recommendations outlined in the green paper should continue to capture and build on the unique experiences that each group or person brings, and help shape what the city has to offer for themselves and future generations.

As someone who lives and works in the city, I like to take the time to find out why someone either visits or moves to Birmingham. It is a sad past time of mine, but I wonder what draws them.

Usually when I have captive audience (the taxi driver, for one) I want to know whether they have always lived in Birmingham, if not how long and where are they from? And most importantly why? What is it about Birmingham that’s different?

Often it’s because it’s friendlier, even though there are many different communities, people will still take the time to talk and live along side each other in an amicable way. Birmingham is not as busy as other cities, in particular London, some individuals spent time in the capital only too desperate to move back to Birmingham.

We need to tap into this, so how?

London has developed an approach Open-City at 20 based on a three-stage process over the next 20 years of experiential learning, sharing knowledge and expertise, and learning by doing which will help shift public attitudes and professional practice.

So what do other cities do?

Alexandria, Egypt Alexandria City, Egypt has its own commitment to an ‘open cities’ approach even though the city can boast beautiful coast lines, blue skies and being in the Med the city still strives for more:

….. An Open City is one that is open to new ideas and innovation; welcoming to a diversity of people and cultures. It is a city of equal opportunities for all, a city that is open for the combination of lifestyle, creativity, scale, population, cultural and commercial diversity that enables it to become a ‘magnet city alongside cities.

Now we want to hear from you.

  • How can you help turn these ideas into action?
  • Do the recommendations cover the right things?
  • Is there anything significant that has been missed?
  • Do you or your organisation have any examples of best practice related to any of the commitments or recommendations that you would like to share?

Here’s your chance to contribute before Monday 5th November 2012.

Write to: Jackie Mould
Giving Hope Changing Lives
PO Box 16253
B2 2WS

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1 Comment

  1. The Parable of the Good Brummie! « Fair Brum

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