What does a sustainable city look like?

Sustainability West Midlands logoA couple of weeks ago I attended ‘Voices from the future 2020: how are we housed?’, an event organised by Sustainability West Midlands.

This is the first event in their ‘Voices from the future 2020’ series which develop themes from the report A low carbon vision for the West Midlands in 2020. The aim of this series is to stimulate thinking amongst decision makers in the West Midlands of the positive future we can have, and how to get there.

The main presentation, delivered by Stellan Fryxell, partner of Tenborn Architects in Stockholm, showed a great example of what a sustainable city looks like.

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Engaging communities in the new economy – Observatory conference debate

Engaging communities in the new economySupport the community organisations who are working on the ground, was a strong theme in both workshops on ‘engaging communities in the new economy’ at the Observatory’s 2009 Annual Conference.

The workshop heard from voices working with communities in the region who articulated their frustrations in having to fit their work around funders’ requirements, rather than funders coming to them and saying ‘how can we support you to do what you do?’

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Environment and economy: Fit for the Future?

Environment & EconomyThe 2009 Observatory conference, West Midlands: Fit for the Future?, provided a forum for debate on economic recovery in the West Midlands.

One element of the debate concentrated on how to link the environment and economy better, based on chapters 4 and 9 of the Fit for the Future? book.

Delegates at the Environment and Economy workshop discussed Green Infrastructure, leadership and the value of the environment, aiming to understand how to embed the environment into regional policy making more effectively. Discussions ranged from the best way of doing this to overcoming what’s currently standing in the way.

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Debate on the future of the region is picking up pace

Fit for the Future? Green InfrastructureThe West Midlands: Fit for the Future? debate is picking up pace, with the Observatory today publishing an eleventh chapter to add to the original book of ten chapters (pdf, 5.7mb).

The Forestry Commission’s Bill Heslegrave felt so strongly about the inclusion of green infrastructure in a debate on the economic recovery of the West Midlands, that he submitted a chapter of his own (pdf, 928kb).

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Speakers announced for the 2009 conference

West Midlands: Fit for the Future?One month to go until the Observatory’s 2009 conference – “West Midlands: Fit for the Future?” – on Tuesday 20th October at the Ramada Hotel in Sutton Coldfield.

Book online or fax us a booking form

Entitled “West Midlands: Fit for the Future?”, the conference will follow on from a book of the same name launched by the Observatory in July. The focus will be on the economic recovery of the region, rather than the recession, and how we position the West Midlands to ‘hit the ground running’. Delegates will be encouraged to discuss issues raised in the book and influence development of the evidence base to inform the Single Regional Strategy.

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Building a low carbon country

Ed Miliband MP

Ed Miliband MP

The transition to a low-carbon economy will be one of the defining issues of the 21st century. This plan sets out a route-map for the UK’s transition from here to 2020.

Ed Miliband MP, 15 July 2009

Ed Miliband, Secretary of State of Energy and Climate Change, yesterday launched  a national strategy for climate and energy.

The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan is the government’s plan for how the UK will meet the cut in emissions set out in the budget of 34% on 1990 levels by 2020.

The government has placed transforming the country into a cleaner, greener and more prosperous place at the heart of its new economic plans. This document is their way of ensuring that the UK is ready to take advantage of the opportunities ahead.

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Launch of the first Place Survey results

Cobbled lane in HerefordshireResults of the first Place Survey were launched today providing information on people’s perceptions of their local area and the local services they receive.

The survey collects information on 18 national indicators for local government, used to measure local government performance for 152 county councils, metropolitan district councils, London boroughs and unitary authorities.

Communities Secretary John Denham said the results of the Place Survey—based on more than 500,000 people’s views and perceptions about where they live—demonstrates the importance of listening to local people and what they want for their local area.

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