The future city game in Blackburn with Darwen
Blackburn with Darwen is a multi-cultural area with diverse urban areas set within countryside. It is a key geographical and cultural gateway to Pennine Lancashire. The Borough covers an area of 13,700 hectares and has a population of 142,000 people in approximately 55,000 households.
The population is growing and is set to increase to 13% to more than 160,000 by 2030. Some of the key challenges in the area include:
- The lowest employment rate in Pennine Lancashire and a significant shortfall of both entry and higher level skills
- High density of terraced housing, parts in poor condition
- The Borough is the 17th most deprived in the country – half of all children in the Borough live in areas which are amongst the 10% most deprived in the country
- Culturally diverse population (more than one in five residents come from Asian heritage backgrounds)
- High levels of separation between communities.
Over two days the Blackburn with Darwen Local Strategic Partnership (LSP), the body made up of public organisations, local employers and community groups, worked in four teams to develop ideas to tackle the borough’s big issues and come up with ideas that will improve the area over the next twenty years. The winning idea, Electra, will be included in the Vision 2030 plan. The game was planned in partnership with Blackburn with Darwen and the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) and the Games Master was Neil McInroy, Chief Executive of CLES.
Widespread extension of electric vehicles across the borough, taking advantage of new long range plug in electric vehicle technology.
A variety of vehicles:
· Small individual vehicles for 2 people
· Family sized cars
· Bus sized
All can connect together to form long strings of vehicles, travelling along high priority high volume routes which are protected and able to use all highways in the borough. Routes will extend towards jobs and economic hubs of Manchester and other neighbouring towns. Vehicles can be picked up at a network of community hubs.
Ownership models are flexible; membership schemes, private ownership, public ownership, available for socially necessary transport and to allow access. The programme will achieve community buy-in. Use will vary from car share, booking by telephone, from halts near main routes. It will be a hybrid of public and private transport.
Winning ideas from the other teams
Blackburn Fun Zone
Blackburn Fun Zone is an initiative underpinned by fun and is geared towards enabling Blackburn to recognise that it should change to accommodate its broad and diverse communities.
Using the existing attractions such as the ice rink, waves water fun centre and cinema as foundations, Blackburn Fun Zone will connect them together through innovative transport solutions based on the canal and River Blakewater and see the provision of new facilities such as a beach and theme park based in and around the existing cathedral, creating thousands of employment opportunities for local people and a safer environment.
Driven by renewable energy, Fun Zone Blackburn will be a model of sustainability and will change the image of the town centre from a deserted town centre into a multi-cultural centre of fun – something for everyone everyday.
This would propose a strategic partnership with one or more towns or regions in one of the emerging economies of the world.
We will be pro-active in seeking partners and will offer links for distribution, assembly in manufacturing for products from that town or region applicable to the EU market. We would also envisage offering carbon saving technology or other results of high-tech research and development.
This would provide and economic foundation for rising to the many racial and other challenges we face. This will be a world class relationship that challenges our perceptions of an undervalued community.
The main elements will be based on our asset base and better utilisation.
Electronic Revolution in information transfer, owned by, used by and accessible to all.
· Radical investment in communication infrastructures (broad band access for all)
· Building on the neighbourhood model
· Use of technology (Web 2.0/social marketing)
· Emphasis on skills development/community based training for all
Physical Connectivity revolution
· Pedestrianised City Centre
· Investment in new, green public transport infrastructure
· Community/social enterprise to develop cycle and vehicle use
· Funded by community capital
Cultural Connectivity – diversity/building bridges/ faith city