The Future Business District

To poorly paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the death of the office are greatly exaggerated but at the end of 2020 when ‘Zoom’ and ‘remote’ appear in the list of words of the year, there are few who think everyone will return to working exactly as we all did twelve months ago.

Colmore BID is leading a unique study on The Future Business District to inform our response to long term recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and to offer policy directions on best practice for this and other central business districts in the UK.

The Study will have a strong emphasis on place, not just on the future of office working, but where workplaces co-locate and the important linkages with recovery of the High Street, city living, and the future of our cultural institutions, as well as the transport, air quality and climate challenges cities face.

We are grateful for the backing of Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Combined Authority. The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) and neighbouring city centre BIDs – Westside, Retail, Jewellery Quarter and Southside – are also supporting the Study.

City-REDI at the University of Birmingham has been appointed as lead Research Partner. It will work alongside the Office of Data Analytics at the West Midlands Combined Authority to undertake the major research programme. Support is also coming from UK Research and Innovation and the Centre for Cities think tank.

An independent Advisory Panel being established to provide us with expert guidance.

Colmore BID director Mike Best developed the Study with Kevin Johnson of Colmore-based strategic communications firm Urban Communications. Mike, who already supervises Colmore BID’s Safe & Sound activities, will chair our Working Group whilst Kevin will serve as Project Director.


The Study will set out to answer two key questions:

  1. What is the likely long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on city centre business districts?
  2. How can we ensure they remain successful as places to attract businesses and people and contribute to vibrant city centres?

Blog – Bestlaidplan here.