As the ‘Games for Everyone’ ended after an inspiring 11 days, it is natural that commentary will turn to the legacy that follows. The commitment from the start of the Commonwealth Games was to design a legacy programme “in step with the regional strategy to create a healthier, happier, better connected, and more prosperous West Midlands.” And we are already seeing some of this coming to life.
Will we be better connected? Definitely. By including free public travel within the West Midlands in the admission ticket price, spectators have gained an insight into a transport system that reduces the reliance on cars. We believe, as a result, that we are about to witness what appears to be a lasting legacy in the infrastructure sector that may well be the catalyst for long-term behavioural change.
Have the Games inspired our future generations to be healthier and happier? With under-25s making up nearly 40% of the population, Birmingham has certainly proved that it is a great place to live and work with high energy, enthusiasm, and a can-do attitude demonstrated throughout the Games. Within an hour’s drive of the city, there are over 400 schools, 15 universities, and three university colleges. With plans to ensure the future use of the Games venues, such as Birmingham City University relocating its sports science facility to the Alexandra Stadium, the provision of community sports facilities is set to continue.
And will the West Midlands flourish and prosper long after the Games are over? Absolutely. As a result of the accelerated investment, Birmingham’s infrastructure was enhanced in preparation for the Games, including the refurbishment of Perry Barr and Leamington Spa railway stations, the creation of a new bus interchange at Perry Barr, the introduction of a Clean Air Zone in the city centre, the extension of the West Midlands Metro system, and segregated bicycle lanes. All of which will contribute to decarbonisation, improved air quality, and increased transportation resilience which is much needed for the future.
At RLB, we are actively engaged in regional and national initiatives to support clients in planning for a sustainable future. Using our digital toolkit, we are developing innovative solutions to continue the ‘Games for Everyone’ legacy and help the next generation benefit from the decisions we make today.