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Birmingham is challenging architects to come up with a radical new approach to housing in the city which is it hoped will shape all future construction in the city.

Speaking at the opening of MIPIM 2008, the world’s leading property and investment exhibition, Coun Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham City Council, said architects will be challenged to design a single home in the city centre featuring design values, sustainability levels and an approach to building which will in future become synonymous with the city.

To be built using local materials, labour and know-how, “The Birmingham Home” will have a unique style all of its own and become the blueprint for future development.

Coun Whitby said: “The issue of combating climate change is perhaps the single biggest challenge facing society today. For ambitious international cities such as Birmingham this challenge is all the more pressing, set against a growing economy and ever developing cityscape.

“Birmingham takes its responsibility in this area very seriously and our commitment to improving homes and developing new approaches to energy efficiency has driven many improvements over recent years. As a result many of our homes are now ‘greener’, more comfortable and enjoy significantly reduced energy bills compared to before.”

Early this year Birmingham became the only city in the UK to be invited to join the international “Connected Urban Development (CUD) program, by former US President Bill Clinton and global IT giant CISCO.

The CUD program has been set up to bring world leaders, not-for-profit organisations, charities, and businesses together to discuss climate change issues and devise solutions. Birmingham was invited to join the program in recognition of its work to develop environmentally friendly “smart” homes and communities.

A design competition to develop the first “Birmingham Home” is expected to be held during 2008, with the home completed and a family due to move in by 2009.

Once the first house is built the city council hopes to develop further homes in other areas of the city, while also introducing elements of the “Birmingham Home” design into planning requirements.

Ends (343 words)

For further information please contact:

Simon Houltby
Press Officer, Birmingham City Council
0121 303 3503

Or

Andy Skinner,
Press Officer, Team Birmingham

07990 978257

www.birminghammipim.co.uk

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