Lisa and Jenny from Capsule gave their thoughts on the Big City Plan to Night Times Newspaper, concentrating on the development of Digbeth. Here’s what they said:
Currently our success has happened in spite of the city rather than because of it,Â just think what could be achieved if we worked together.Â Travelling frequently to other cities these are some suggestions to make Digbeth blossom as a cultural quarter:
- Why do people get on planes and trains to come to Supersonic â€“ because we offer them a totally unique experience of the highest quality.Â There is a real opportunity to acknowledge what makes Birmingham a unique city and invest in independent and niche activity.Â Steer clear of a homogenised approach â€“ learn from those that do it well and have a track record.
- Lets learn from other cities like Berlin, Glasgow and Manchester and take risks with our empty buildings â€“ an opportunity to invest in content to be housed in these empty spaces to animate the area, lets not be so precious i.e. noise restrictions â€“ creativity is often loud and messy lets embrace and celebrate this.
- Encourage more creative companies to have the opportunity to be able to buy their own buildings rather than be tied to short-term leases.
- Create flexible spaces that can house a variety of activity which changes from week to week, this will keep the area vibrant.
- Donâ€™t just invest in a couple of landlords this creates a monopoly.
- Lets get the basics right â€“ look at infrastructure: cash points, post offices, signage, and streetlights.
- Think about the visitors experience as well as what its like to work in this area, lets make it the highest quality experience â€“ currently feels like quite an intimidating, unfriendly area.
- Creative quarters need to grow organically, invest in supporting growth rather than imposing structured ideas of what you think creativity should be.
- Remember areas develop over time not over night.
Meanwhile, Shona McQuillan (Graphiquillan) has thrown in her 2p on ‘the recent stirrings’ and ends with what she calls ‘The Break Free Manifesto’:
- No logo
- Evolution is imperative and the need for it must be acknowledged and respected by official bodies.
- Itâ€™s not about self-interest – it embraces all who trade, visit, consume or adore. It brings elements together where it makes sense to do so – itâ€™s more about healthy benevolence, but allows those who should benefit to do so.
- Itâ€™s not about the establishment. It recognises many forms of creativity: art, music, dance, theatre, multimedia, skate culture, tattoos, grafitti et al.
- It recognises that the stateâ€™s not going to do this and that those most qualified to do so, the cityâ€™s creatives, are the leads on this.
Break free. Time to do it ourselves?