What's YOUR big and bold vision for city?
HOW would you like your city of the future to be? This is the question the Government has asked a select number of cities, including Plymouth, to consider during the next month, for its TSB Future Cities Demonstrator project.
It has set aside funds of more than £160million for the UK city that can most inspirationally and articulately demonstrate it has a big bold vision for its future – that other cities across the UK and Europe could learn from as a model.
During the past two weeks local leaders, including the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, have been invited to take part in articulating that big, bold vision for Plymouth, and the results are exciting and engaging.
It's a project that speaks strongly to Plymouth's 2020 vision of being one of Europe's most vibrant waterfront cities, a place where people want to visit, work and live.
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At my Future Cities workshop there was talk of a city of connected communities, a place where each community was engaged, inspired and empowered to be part of creating its own bright future.
A Plymouth truly connected by a seamless, integrated transport system that linked road, to water, to rail to bike to air.
There was a desire for a powerful health and wellbeing data system which linked hospitals to doctors to social care – effortlessly – in a way that the citizens themselves could access and contribute to.
Communities at a grass roots level would be connected to funding and resource to create and stimulate enterprise, and therefore create new jobs using new forms of funding like crowd-funding and "sandboxes" – small seed funds accessible to many.
A sustainable Plymouth was at the heart of the vision – a place where "eco houses" and communities would be the norm and all environmental wastage would be reduced and recycled.
We discussed the notion of "citizenpreneurs", where citizens felt engaged and connected and inspired to use some of the best entrepreneurial skills for the benefit of the city itself.
It was a hugely exciting and inspiring discussion, and most impressive was the high levels of skills, talent and confidence in the room amongst participants, and the appetite to contribute to a real step change in Plymouth's future.
But it's not just up to the council to get the £160million. If we want the cash, we, the citizens, have got to show we want it.
With this in mind, please tweet #futurecityplymouth and tell us what kind of city you'd like your future Plymouth to be.