Rolling into Birmingham on a train from London you’ll see what looks like a couple of derelict car parks and the odd flash of graffiti on the side of some disused building. Indeed, for this observer at least, Birmingham was almost reminiscent of Berlin, with its many concrete buildings and 60s architecture. On looks alone, it’s not hard to see how it gave birth to the bands Black Sabbath and Judas Priest.
But though the impression of a city that’s a little rough around the edges can work from some angles, the place has plenty to suggest it’s not quite ‘poor but sexy’ as Berlin has been described, especially when you realise the derelict building is earmarked with signage for development, and the car park has the word “Temporary” on it. Perhaps like Berlin did in the last few years, it’s getting it’s mojo back with new architectural developments like the Bullring, pictured:
Indeed, although Birmingham is sometimes forgotten because of the media dominance of Manchester in the world’s of football and music, Birmingham has the second-largest city economy in the UK after London, is a big employer in banking and finance and its university is regarded as part of the English “Ivy League”. From that basis and being only just over an hour from London, Birmingham looks like it might well have the making of a new hub for technology startups in Europe.