As part of the smart city-regions project, the RTPI supported the West Midlands Futures Project, an initiative of Futures Network West Midlands (FNWM), the West Midlands RTPI, Birmingham City University and the Centre of Urban and Regional Studies at the University of Birmingham.
Running over two academic years, the Futures Project brought together students from Birmingham's two planning schools to consider the challenges and opportunities that the West Midlands will face over the coming years and how strategic planning could shape and respond to them.
Throughout the project, students drew on the region's extensive, practitioner experience in a programme of informal events and workshops. The first stages of the project distilled the issues and lessons from previous decades and took stock of the current situation, allowing future thinking to be built on firm foundations. In doing so, students left a shared resource of their findings for the region's planners, looking both backwards and forwards.