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The resident-led renewal of Balsall Heath in Birmingham


The neighbourhood of Balsall Heath is just half a mile from Birmingham City Centre in the UK, and contains 14,000 residents. During the industrial revolution it grew from small beginnings into a cohesive, white, working class area. However, the end of manufacturing industry in the area in the 1960s and 70s led to widespread unemployment and the Council knocked down a third of the 100 year old houses and re-housed the residents all over Birmingham.

In a very short period of time the population changed. By 1980 it had come to be made up of 60% Asian, 20% African and Caribbean and just 20% white. This new population was confused, lonely, didn't know each other and was weak and unconfident. Before long, what had been simply one localised street of prostitutes, grew and grew until 450 prostitutes worked the patch. Crime soared. Residents who could leave did so.

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Dick Atkinson

Balsall Heath Forum

0121 446 6183

Dick Atkinson provided Governance International with this case study on 15th May 2010.

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