Birmingham, a one-time industrial giant in England’s West Midlands, has emerged as a model of a city addressing interconnected environmental and health-related problems in a comprehensive, integrated way. Birmingham has declared its intention to be green and sustainable city, and is a leader in making connections between health and nature. Much of this new philosophy can be seen in the Green Living Spaces Plan, which includes a proposal for creating access to Birmingham’s impressive network of rivers and streams, making it the basis for a citywide grid of trails and pathways. Despite the city’s reputation as a gray industrial locale, it ranks high in biodiversity, especially when the National Nature Reserve, the 1,000-hectare Sutton Park (the only urban reserve in the United Kingdom), is taken into account. Birmingham has declared its intent to be the United Kingdom’s first “natural capital city,” and is working on a “natural capital metric” that will be used to evaluate future development projects.

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Interview with Nick Grayson, Climate Change and Sustainability Manager, Birmingham City Council

Tim Beatley’s article in Planning Magazine: Green, British Style (November 2013)