Birmingham’s latest guru has suggested we need a large dose of Scouse in order to propel the city forward to the next stage of its regeneration and image make-over.
Or, rather, Professor Michael Parkinson – the leading academic brought in by Birmingham City Council to advise on the future masterplan for the city – has suggested the city needs to adopt the kind of self-confident swagger that has characterised Liverpool in recent years.
Slightly different to the spin put on it by The Birmingham Post (http://icbirmingham.icnetwork.co.uk) but certainly a headline friendly translation of what Prof Parkinson told a city summit on Tuesday (28th).
Prof Parkinson, of Liverpool John Moores University, is a senior Government adviser on city planning and well-placed to offer an appraisal of Birmingham’s past successes and future challenges.
He is undeniably right that a little more self-confidence is essential to the next chapter of Birmingham’s revival.
It is the “why not Birmingham?” attitude that has been lacking of late.
Instead we have been stuck in a half-hearted, almost apologetic “why Birmingham?” mindset whenever the issue of the city’s future direction is raised.
Hopefully that is where the comparisons with Liverpool will end, however, as our Scouse friends still seem to be stumbling towards 2008 and their stint as Europe’s cultural capital rather than striding purposefully forward.
The simple truth is that the first chapter of Birmingham’s regeneration – Brindleyplace, the Mailbox, the Bullring – set a benchmark for other cities, both in the UK and farther afield. What is required from the second chapter is another similarly progressive programme that will draw envious glances once again from other cities.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and many have been following Birmingham’s lead for more than a decade.
Many of these cities are close to catching up, however, so what is required now is for Birmingham to once more forge ahead of the rest.
Birmingham must ensure that it once again provides the blueprint for large scale urban regeneration.