Boris Johnson launched his vision for London yesterday (details here) gaining significant press and twitter coverage . In skim reading it it leapt out at me that this sort of summary overview; this distillation of objectives is what is missing certainly in Birmingham and possibly other cities. Now the document might be a little too political at times for me; it really has the feel of a document written or strongly edited by the man himself as the language in it often strays from the normal bureaucratic or promotional literature that abounds elsewhere but it is clear and fairly comprehensive. It covers;
Quality of life
Housing and Land
Standing up for London (ie lobbying)
London Living (Education/Crime/Sport/Public Realm etc)
Now it is not the best laid out document in the world, it not the best such document I have seen and it suffers like many of being a promotional as well as a high level policy document but at least we know amongst other targets that London and/or Boris
- Is committed to the continuing decline of car driving in the City
- Targets a 15% modal share for cycling in inner London by 2020
- Wants to expand its cycle share scheme
- Is seeking to significantly expand its public transport network including CrossRail2
- Implement the low emissions zone by 2020
- Arguing strongly against a third runway at Heathrow
- Seeking the devolution of national skills funding
- Seeking the London living wage to be the norm by 2020
- Promoting Med City a focus for economic growth in the life sciences arena
- Build 60,000 more hotel rooms by 2020
- Deliver 11,000 new homes and 10,000 new jobs on the Olympic Park
- 20% reduction in crime
So the document is littered with targets; some achievable and some patently aspirational but what is good about it – it is comprehensive, it is in one place, on the net, in paper and eminently readable.
Now one could say objectively London doesn’t really need this as it has the eyes, ears, and best wishes of Government and the private sector. But what is patently clear to me is that places outside London; like Birmingham who are not so well connected to Government, who are not so understood and often who are completely misunderstood need such an approach. This is story telling, pulling together dispirit actions and ambitions and Birmingham needs to do that in one document. This is not a diatribe against much of the excellent work that is going on or that has gone on in the City but it is just a cry almost from the heart that it needs to construct the story, construct the comprehensive narrative that then can be used to explain and clarify objectives and ambitions of the city both as an internal tool but also vitally externally, down in London, in Brussels and wherever decisions are taken about the city.
So let us collect our targets, collect our objectives, perhaps clarifying a few on the way and seek to produce such a document by 2014 – Shall We?