Observatory launches new book ‘West Midlands: Fit for the Future?’

Stack of West Midlands: Fit for the Future? booksA new book from the Observatory, West Midlands: Fit for the Future?, was launched yesterday.

The book aims to stimulate debate, promote discussion and influence policy on the future growth of the West Midlands region. The focus is on the future prosperity of the West Midlands, rather than on the effects of the recession, and exploring the region’s ability to maximise its potential as we move out of the downturn.

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Modelling population change in the West Midlands: call for information

Crowd walking up and down stairsHow do you try to understand the changes that are happening in your populations? Have you developed a model to try to understand population change? If so, we would be interested to hear from you.

As part of our State of the Region dialogue on population change, we’re looking for regional examples of how people have modelled population change, particularly where they are not based on the Office for National Statistics’ population projections.

We know that there are several different models used across the West Midlands in different policy areas. In this year’s State of the Region report we will try to bring these together and summarise the various models that are used.
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Call to action on climate change

Becky GillDue to popular demand, we’re sharing the opening presentation from our state of the region climate change event held back on 20th April 2009.

Becky Gill, Head of Sustainable Development at Government Office West Midlands, spoke on the region’s Climate Change Action Plan.

The Action Plan’s vision is of a sustainable, low carbon West Midlands that is well-adapted to the impacts of climate change and supported by a low carbon economy.

Becky called on the whole region to get behind the vision, and for focussed action to achieve it.

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Can we do it? Walking the talk on climate change

Chris CreanChris Crean is the West Midlands Regional Campaign Coordinator for Friends of the Earth and he provided the final presentation to delegates at the Observatory’s State of the Region climate change event.

Chris posed the question of whether we are prepared to, or capable of, walking the talk on climate change.

Chris’s presentation considered the impacts of regional strategies and the contradictions and challenges they present when looking at climate change.

In simple terms Chris’s message was “efficiency, efficiency, efficiency!”

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Evidence based climate change policy: six tricky challenges

Roger LevettRoger Levett of Levett-Therivel sustainability consultants led the presentations at the Observatory’s State of the Region Climate Change event. Roger laid down six tricky challenges to delegates.

He stressed that the evidence is already overwhelming that unless we cut greenhouse emissions deeply, fast, soon, irreversible catastrophic climate change will almost certainly become unpreventable. Delaying action to improve the evidence is no longer necessary.

Roger was also keen to lay down challenges to the Observatory in how we present and use the data to influence policy makers in the region. How we tackle these challenges will be key to the development of the State of the Region dialogue.

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Is this the future for the West Midlands?

Ann-Marie BrouderDr. Ann-Marie Brouder from Forum for the Future shared a vision of what the region might look in 2020. This is not just any vision though, as it considers what a low carbon West Midlands will look like.

Developed on behalf of Sustainability West Midlands, A low carbon vision for the West Midlands 2020, looks at the technologies and developments that may have shaped our lives over the next decade.

Will we be seeing vertical farms in our city centres or power generating dance floors in nightclubs?

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Climate change dialogue underway

Discussion at the eventWe had so much interest in our new State of the Region dialogue on climate change on Monday, that we had to move it to a bigger venue!

The dialogue got off to a great start, and there seemed to be real concensus amongst the forty or so delegates on how to progress some of the issues raised.

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