What's the future for Birmingham?
It's an interesting question and one that is never really answered. Over the next few articles I'll be looking at some of the issues that the city is going to be facing and some of the creative and innovative approaches that we could look at to solve the city's problems, increase our quality of life and generally make us a better and more respected part of the world.
I've been living here for over ten years, so no, I'm not 'born and bred'. But having lived here for that time I've realised that actually there seem to be a lot of people just like me around - who want to have a say in how the city's changing and can look at the place with fresh eyes. So that's the perspective I offer - good or bad.
The Big City Plan
Blogging on the Birmingham Post site I hope I'll be able to air a few of my opinions, especially because I'm getting something of an insider's-eye-view of "The Big City Plan" that launched this week.
I was invited earlier this year to be part of something called "the city team", a group of people brought together to be part of the process of influencing the big ideas that are going to shape the Birmingham of the next 15 years.
These ideas are being given their first public airing on Thursday, so expect a few blog posts about things that come out of it.
Already I've been posting some of my thoughts on that experience so far on my own blog, but really these things deserve a more public 'home', and that's why I've volunteered (yep - I'm not getting paid for this so I can say what I like) to be an 'all official and that' Birmingham Post blogger.
My ideas of a future
So, expect a few rants - like yesterday's "Birmingham City Council is Psychotic" (about being threatened with prison by the Council - thanks guys), "Let's get rid of these things from our cities" (about the ridiculous trend for 4x4s that have never been driven off-road but clog up the roads at school-run time), as well as some thought-provoking 'what do you think of this idea?' posts like "How about we design Birmingham with a WIKI" (a nice idea that is 'being considered') or "What is Birmingham's creative direction?" (how about a 'creative director' for the city?).
Comment, comment, comment!
I'm not asking you to agree with what I say. I'm not going to be saying anything I don't agree with, at least at the time. If I change my mind later, then I'll say so. This is a dialogue, so nothing is set in stone - I'm open to being pointed out as completely barking up the wrong tree.
And I like comments. If something I say makes you angry, say so. If you want to point something out, say so.
But remember, 'The Birmingham Post accepts no responsibility for the content of Stef Lewandowski's rants', so just take it all with a pinch of salt, and let's keep things civil.
According to Godwin's Law, the probability that someone will compare someone else to 'Hitler' in an online debate approaches 1, the more comments you get. Every good rule needs a good exception - let's be that exception.
So the future of Birmingham?
I say it's up for grabs. There's a lot of things right with the place, but there's also a lot that are wrong. With a good blog here and there maybe we can all start making our opinions heard about what that future should be.
Someone this week asked me to describe in five words the best thing about Birmingham.
I sat for a few minutes and came up with "A, Good, Quality, Of, Life". I think that about sums it up.
Let's start with something modest - a future for Birmingham would be for the city to be recognised for that.
What's your future for Birmingham?