Three projects helping to reimagine the West Midlands and respond to major challenges of our times, have been formally recognised at an inaugural awards ceremony.
The West Midlands National Park, the brainchild of Kathryn Moore, Professor of Landscape Architecture at Birmingham City University, has announced the first three recipients of the West Midlands National Park Project Awards.
The trio of winning schemes demonstrate the work taking place across the West Midlands to reimagine its future.
The West Midlands National Park (WMNP) is a long term spatial vision to deal with the challenges faced by the West Midlands, including the climate emergency, regeneration, environment, transport, identity, infrastructure, employment, skills, well-being and achieving a resilient green recovery.
By encouraging cross boundary working and delivery, the West Midlands National Park is a means to an end, a vehicle to help drive social, economic and environmental change in the region.
The West Midlands National Park Awards programme is designed to support the delivery of the WMNP, by recognising, celebrating and sharing best practice, policy and research.
Judged by an international jury, the inaugural winners demonstrate excellence in the way their submissions align with the WMNP ethos in order to create integrated approaches to the development, transformation and management of our physical and cultural resources. A wide range of projects are considered, whether to do with the physical environment, wellbeing, culture, governance and policy or research.
This is not about rewarding business as usual, but proposals with flair, potential, and the ability to make a difference.
The first West Midlands National Park project winners are:
WMNP Strategic Spatial Policy and Long Term Impact Award
Black Country Core Strategy – The Black Country Consortium:
The Black Country Core Strategy is a planning and regeneration plan for the whole of the Black Country, signed up to by the four Black Country Councils (Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton).
The Black Country Core Strategy (BCCS) sets out the vision, objectives and strategy for future development in the Black Country up to 2026 and beyond.
WMNP Future Vision Award
Our Future City Plan – Birmingham City Council
Birmingham City Council has outlined a vision for change in the central part of Birmingham. Shaping our City outlines the context of the area, key challenges and opportunities.
Our Future City Plan outlines a template for major change in Birmingham. Using the climate emergency as impetus, the Plan is setting a new direction, aiming for a zero-carbon approach to development. It will also build inclusive growth principles into the very foundation of all plans to ensure that every citizen in Birmingham benefits from development.
WMNP Community Impact Award
George’s Park, Lozells – Friends of George’s Park
The Friends of Georges Park was formed in January 2021 to promote, protect and preserve Georges Park and enhance local community engagement into green spaces. It is located in the heart of the Lozells area of Birmingham and is part of an environmentally charged super diverse community.
The group lobby’s for investment which can improve the park’s safety, cleanliness, access and also ensure the conservation, protection, heritage and biodiversity as a legacy for local people.
Announcing the winners, Dame Fiona Reynolds, Chair of the West Midlands National Park Foundation and former Director General of the National Trust said: “It is a joy to see and recognise so many brilliant initiatives contributing to the ideals and realisation of the West Midlands National Park. Congratulations to everyone involved.”
The Awards judging panel includes Professor Kristina Hill, Director of the Institute for Urban and Regional Development at UC Berkeley and Michael Schwarze-Rodrian, former head of the Department of European and Regional Networks and the EU Representative of the Regional Association of the Ruhr, Germany. Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands said “As the West Midlands National Park gathers momentum, it is becoming increasingly clear that it is a key element of our plan to build a healthier, happier and more prosperous region. "With an accelerating climate emergency, we need to think carefully about how our buildings impact our natural landscape. It’s great that these awards will begin to raise the bar by highlighting best practice in sustainable development.”
It represents much of what makes BCU such a special place, bringing together, as it does, design, creativity, innovation and economics into a vision for a green and thriving region. Professor Juian Beer