A recent debate found the future is bright for the West Midlands despite uncertainty surrounding current changes

Regional leadership and the Big Society

There are no quick answers when trying to predict the effect of the Big Society on our physical environment, according to a recent debate.

The Great Debate on the Future of West Midlands Construction tackled a wide range of issues including what will happen to coherent leadership in the region under the new changes.

LI member Professor Kathryn Moore, who chaired the meeting, said: “We’re in a transition period, we have to understand that it’s not going to be sorted out straightaway.

“There aren’t any quick answers. We don’t really understand what the Big Society means for us as a profession more than anyone else does. We were looking at how we should work together to make sure that the skills base, quality of life and quality of environment continue to develop in the West Midlands.”

Participants at the discussion, held at the ARUP campus in Solihull in January, agreed that it was important for the West Midlands to put itself on an international footing and make sure it attracts visitors and investors from around the world.

“It was a very forward-thinking, positive meeting and discussion, about what our aspirations should be. We must look at the region not just in comparison to London but internationally. What do we do to attract people coming in from Europe or China? What have we got to encourage them to invest in and develop the West Midlands?”

Professor Moore was joined by panel members Anthony Clerici, Regional Chair, Royal Institute of British Architects; Trudi Elliott, Chief Executive Royal Town Planning Institute; Tom Foulkes, Director General, Institution of Civil Engineers; Martin Perks, Regional Chair, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors; Paul Spooner, West Midlands Director, Homes and Community Agency.

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