A question that keeps on coming back to me from different sources as we engage in seeing our cities transformed is not just ‘how big is our vision for our places?’ but ‘how long is our vision for our places?’
We have been good at having big visions for our cities in our unity movements across the UK, and we have seen many changes for the better take place but we have not always had a long term vision of 30 to 50 years for our cities.
A good number of our cities across the UK are seeing investment into developments that will have an impact for the next number of decades. This week in Salford, phase two of Media City UK has gone through for planning consent; phase two is twice the size of phase one with a total investment of £1 billion which will potentially see the number of media related companies in Media City UK triple. This is one of five investment projects in the city of Salford which are costing upwards of £350 million each and will help see the city develop and transform in the future.
Over the next few years, in south London, the Croydon Partnership will transform Croydon’s two main shopping centres into a world-class retail and leisure destination, which will help transform Croydon with the aspiration of it being the best place to shop, work and live in south London. The investment into this is £1.4 billion.
The redeveloped Birmingham New Street Station opened its doors to passengers last September after a five-year, £750 million transformation. Boasting a new atrium over a huge passenger concourse – five times the size of London Euston. The station was rebuilt whilst trains continued to run as normal for the 170,000 passengers a day who use it. The new station features 43 shops at concourse level and above it sits the new Grand Central shopping complex, including one of the UK’s largest John Lewis department stores. The 450,000 square foot Grand Central will create more than 1,000 jobs and is expected to attract more than 50 million visitors a year.
Chancellor George Osborne said: “This £750 million investment to modernise Birmingham New Street Station is at the heart of our plans to use the power of infrastructure to build a healthier, more balanced and productive economy right across the Midlands.
In these three city areas like many others across the UK, the business, transport, media and governmental spheres are investing in a long term vision for the transformation of theses city areas. They have a vision of the long term future of these places and are investing into them for the long term good.
All this brings me back to the question how long is the vision you have for your place?
God’s plans for our cities are not just for the next 2 to 3 years or even the next 10 to 20 years; they are extensive, far reaching and stretch way into the future.
And so I leave you with the question: How do you see your place in 30 to 50 years and how are you working with and releasing people across the different spheres in your places to achieve this?
Written by Dave King, ambassador for GATHER