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What will Norwich look like in 2040? Five challenges facing the city

PUBLISHED: 14:12 31 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:12 31 October 2019

The climate change protest outisde City Hall in Norwich at the end of September. Picture: Archant

The climate change protest outisde City Hall in Norwich at the end of September. Picture: Archant

Archant

As community and business leaders met to debate a vision for Norwich to be realised between now and 2040, editor David Powles looks at five challenges the city faces that we're highlighted during the debates.

Autumn in the city, Norwich Market Photo: Brittany WoodmanAutumn in the city, Norwich Market Photo: Brittany Woodman

WHEN CAN WE STOP REFERRING TO 'THE TALE OF TWO CITIES'?

So often, including by this very newspaper, Norwich is referred to as being a tale of two cities. It has, on the face of it, a healthy economy, low unemployment and decent living standards. However there remains pockets of the city facing real hardship and where hundreds of families live in poverty.

The 2040 vision for Norwich can only be a success if by that time we no longer refer to the city in such a way and if we have managed to eradicate this feeling of there being 'haves' and 'have nots'.

However the city develops over the next 20 years, it must do so in an inclusive way, with the aim of no man, woman or child being left behind.

HOW CAN WE MAKE OTHERS REALISE HOW FANTASTIC THIS CITY IS?

In 2018 tourism was worth £765m to the city's economy and thousands of jobs rely on it.

However there is a feeling that figure could be much higher and the conference heard how, in a recent IPSO Mori poll, 32pc of those quizzed nationally could not place Norwich on a map.

Many of us like to feel that Norwich is 'our little secret', however if that continues in the long run it will hold us back in more areas than just tourism. Our economy will be hit.

All of us can play a part in shouting to others about how great this city is.

Norwich is currently ranked 29th in the UK as a leisure break destination, can we break into the top 20 during 2020?

EVEN THE YOUNGEST MEMBERS OF OUR COMMUNITY CAN SHAPE THE CITY'S FUTURE

There's no point in a vision for Norwich being worked on that doesn't include the aims and views of those people who will be adults when 2040 comes along.

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And, as the conference heard, even the youngest members of our community can get involved in some way.

Victoria McConnell and Peter Hubery, from Wensum Junior and Nelson Infant schools, told how they have been trying to find ways engage their pupils with their community and show them why it's important to help shape it.

Youngsters spend one of their five days outside of the classroom on a range of 'community-led activities'. The aim being it gives children more of a sense of the world around them and, in future, more of a desire to do positive things to shape it.

IT'S GOOD TO SHARE

What should Norwich be famous for? It's a question that is asked at events and conferences like this all the time.

And there's a growing community of people determined to make the city the UK's leading light in what is called 'the sharing economy'.

At the heart of it is a concept that's not only good for the city and it's people, but the environment as well.

There are an increasing number of groups and organisations around the city contributing to this concept.

The most well-known is Liftshare, in which people wanting to make journeys use an app or website to find others going to the same place with whom they can share the ride.

A simple idea that was borne in Norwich and has now gone nationwide. It saves money and reduces our carbon footprint. What other sharing options are out there?

WE ALL NEED TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE

The debate over climate change needs to shift very quickly from 'is it a problem?' to 'how can we solve it?' because if society doesn't act soon it could be too late.

The younger members of our community get it and have been out campaigning, striking from school and even setting up climate change manifestos.

But the conference heard from members of Norfolk's Youth Advisory Board a very strong rallying cry to individuals and businesses to join their fight and wake up to the problem facing the world.

After all, if none of us are around when 2040 comes along, what's the point in having the vision?

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