Photo Credit: Kevin Frazer

Photo Credit: Kevin Frazer

Birmingham, united kingdom

Biophilic Cities Member since 2013

Birmingham, a one-time industrial giant in England’s West Midlands, has pioneered a comprehensive, integrated approach to environmental and health-related problems. Much of this new philosophy can be seen in the Green Living Spaces Plan, which includes a proposal for creating access to Birmingham’s impressive network of rivers and canals, making it the basis for a citywide grid of trails and pathways. Revitalization of the canal system in the city center has increased visitors who come to enjoy the waterfront atmosphere.  Despite the city’s reputation as a gray industrial locale, it has ample green space with many local nature reserves, like the Moseley Bog (reputed to be a childhood haunt of J.R.R. Tolkien), as well as the  the 1,000-hectare Sutton Park (the first urban National Nature Reserve in the United Kingdom). Birmingham has declared its intent to be the United Kingdom’s first “natural capital city,” and has been a leading city in developing “natural capital metrics” to evaluate the ecological impacts of development projects.  Birmingham has declared its intention to be green and sustainable city, and is a leader in making connections between health and nature.

City Contact: Nick Grayson, University of Birmingham


  • Green Living Spaces Plan to secure, enhance and ensure the effective long term maintenance of the city’s natural green and water spaces.

  • Nature Conservation Strategy: provides comprehensive advice and guidance for the conservation of the city’s biodiversity through preserving open space and park land.  

  • Birmingham and Black Country Biodiversity Action Plan: This plan, written in 2010 by Birmingham and Black Biodiversity Partnership, a consortium of organizations including the Birmingham City Council, aims for a diverse and natural Birmingham and Black Country, where we are connected to our wildlife and landscape; healthy, sustainable communities and local livelihoods, working with nature and securing its future.

  • Active Parks supports Birmingham residents to participate in a wide range of physical activities to improve health and wellbeing whilst having a lot of fun.

  • Green Commission’s ‘Making Birmingham Greener Healthier” awards: These are annual community awards, including a biophilic category. The awards, co-ordinated by the Birmingham Green Commission and sponsored by Veolia, recognise the efforts of people, organisations, community groups and education establishments who have worked hard to promote sustainability; made energy efficiency savings; supported sustainable travel; reduced waste; promoted health and wellbeing initiatives; made space for nature and worked to improve the environment for the people living and working within the city.

  • EcoRecord collects, collates and makes available information about the wildlife, wildlife sites and habitats of Birmingham and the Black Country.

  • The Wildlife Trust of Birmingham and Black Country Vision for a Greener Future.

  • Groundwork UK job training and creation that re-connects people with nature and transform whole neighbourhoods.

  • Canal & River Trust.