Workshop Series: Megatrends and Cities – Understanding the Future

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In 2020 The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has published the Annual State of the Region report in collaboration with WMREDI partners. This identified a number of major trends which will affect the region in the future.

The WMCA and partners are now exploring trends in more detail in collaboration with City-REDI (in part supported by funding from UKRI). While the megatrends we are looking at have implications for all spatial scales, we have a particular focus on impact in the three city centres (Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton) and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) – such as the Colmore BID in Birmingham.

We are reviewing the latest thinking on key international and national megatrends and are commencing a process of benchmarking data and trends in cities – notably city centres. We are also developing think piece narratives to explain impacts and scenarios.

In February 2021 we are hosting a series of workshops looking forward to 2030 in collaboration with Tim Jones of Future Agenda. The idea of the workshops is to discuss key trends, impacts and opportunities for West Midlands cities and gaps in our knowledge. We are also interested in discussing appropriate risk mitigations where impacts may be negative, alongside activity which would accelerate positive impacts. The workshops will be an opportunity to look at whether the current strategy and policy is resilient against the potential future scenarios developed.

We are planning to hold seven workshops. You can find details on the workshops below.

Express and interest in attending a workshop.

Please note that there are only 15 places available at each workshop. 

Date Time THEME Including
5th Feb 14.30-16.00 Adapting to future mobilities –   Growth in walking and cycling

–   Car ownership trends

–   15-minute city

8th Feb 10.00-11.30 Improving health and well-being –   Mental health and anxiety

–   Physical well-being

–   Role of green spaces

10th Feb 10.00-11.30 Hybrid workplaces and the future of work –   Workplaces and workspaces

–   Remote working

–   Labour market polarisation

11th Feb 14.00-15.30 Adjusting business models and operations –   From efficiency to resilience in supply chains

–   Role of social capital

–   E-commerce and the sharing economy

12th Feb 12.30-14.00 New attitudes, behaviours and values –   Generation Z attitudes

–   Intergenerational conflict and co-operation

–   Rise in ethical values

16th Feb 14.30-16.00 Changing functions and functioning of places –   Shift to home working and emptying out of cities

–   Role of agglomeration economies

18th Feb 10.30-12.00 Business districts –   More mixed-use

–   Centres for networking

–   Demise of the high street and changing retail

This blog was written by Anne Green, Professor of Regional Economic Development at City-REDI  / WM REDI, University of Birmingham.

The views expressed in this analysis post are those of the authors and not necessarily those of City-REDI or the University of Birmingham.

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