Birmingham vs London: how does the built environment in the UK’s largest cities compare?

Birmingham vs. London, it’s an age-old question that many students find themselves asking when searching for university options. These two rival cities have a lot to offer - but vary in more ways than one.

Joseph Mews
Property investment company and BCU partner

View of Birmingham city centre with student looking out on balcony

There’s no disputing London’s position as the capital of the UK but Birmingham, as the country’s second largest city has become one of the most popular destinations for students, as well as employers and tourists. Over 85,000 students study in the city across five universities including BCU. 

But how do these two cities compare in relation to the built environment and key features of their skylines? Joseph Mews, a leading property investment company based in Birmingham, discusses the main differences between the cities.

Joseph Mews work closely with Birmingham City University to educate and inform students and readers on the wider built environment, using data collaboration and content creation to explore the possibilities within the property industry. Students on the property marketing module benefit from guest lectures with Joseph Mews’ leading experts.

Three regeneration projects to rival the capital

Regeneration projects have the potential to transform the built environment, with both London and Birmingham in the midst of some of the most exciting restoration plans in the UK. Across the entirety of London you’ll find hundreds of regeneration schemes, from Brent to Greenwich. Developing new neighbourhoods and public amenities, these projects will invite further inward investment into the built environment.

1)    Victoria Square

Birmingham is undergoing its biggest transformation to date, which will have ripple effects across the West Midlands. Every inch of the second city is experiencing some sort of regeneration, mostly driven by the 2022 Commonwealth Games. In the centre, you’ll find the redevelopment of Victoria Square - a £25 million project that will eventually expand to the entirety of the city centre.

2)    Paradise

Paradise is one of many regeneration schemes underway in the centre of Birmingham, offering 17 acres of office space, public realm and hospitality destinations. Regeneration spreads far and wide across Birmingham, and further afield, you’ll find numerous regeneration schemes in preparation for the Games. 

3)    Perry Barr

The 2040 Perry Barr vision will not only introduce thousands of new homes across the area, but this project will also improve public transport and access to the city centre. Along with the redevelopment of Alexander Stadium, this mass investment into Birmingham’s built environment will continue to rival some of London’s biggest regeneration projects. 

The continued investment into Birmingham’s built environment is only a sign of what’s yet to come. As Birmingham’s profile continues to increase and attracts more bustling young professionals, the second city will not only become one of the best places to live, it will also be one of the best places to invest in 2022

Several comparisons can be drawn between London and Birmingham, whether its employment opportunities, quality of life or the built environment. As the UK’s capital city, there’s no denying that London has been the subject of many regeneration schemes and global events, but as Birmingham continues to emerge as a hotspot for young professionals, students and investors, it is on track to reflect the capital in more ways than one. 

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