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We need a radical change to the way we live for a thriving future Norwich

PUBLISHED: 06:30 12 February 2019 | UPDATED: 07:51 12 February 2019

Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council. Pic: Jeff Taylor.

Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council. Pic: Jeff Taylor.

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Alan Waters: Why are we working on a 2040 vision?

One of our famous Norfolk landmarks, an aerial view of Norwich Cathedral. Picture: Mike PageOne of our famous Norfolk landmarks, an aerial view of Norwich Cathedral. Picture: Mike Page

The reality is that in the next 20 years there will be huge changes to how people work, learn, live and travel.

These changes are against a backdrop of huge national and international issues like climate change, Brexit and the need to redress multiple inequalities.

No one organisation can do this alone. So the city council, using its democratic and civic leadership role, has invited, over the past 18 months, the public, representatives from businesses, organisations and community groups to say what they value in Norwich and what they see as future challenges.

Three conferences, one specifically to gain the views of young people between 11 and 25, have all fed into the story of Norwich as it is now and as it should be in the future.

Five themes have emerged from all these conversations to give a shape of our city vision. These are a creative city, a liveable city, a fair city, a connected city and a dynamic city.

Some immediate priorities are being addressed: A stronger voice for young people in shaping the city of the future; tackling the blight of rough sleeping through the Pathways consortium; improving transport through a successful bid for Transforming Cities funding and promoting Norwich with one voice, a positive and modern message about the city.

The vision for Norwich will continue to develop and as more people become involved priorities may shift.

There are profound changes ahead, just think about how the world has changed in the last 10 years.

Crystal ball gazing is inevitable but that is a very hit and miss affair.

What is important is that we have an outlook, which anticipates that change is inevitable.

So, when planning a vision for changing times it is the values that provide a consistent thread.

The writer, CLR James talked about ‘the future in the present’.

The values we invest in the Norwich 2040 vision now will shape our future.

Personally, I believe the guiding value should be the wellbeing of all the city’s citizens.

That perhaps sounds rather bland and well-meaning but to deliver that to its fullest extent will require radical changes to the way we live and relate to each other. Let the debate continue…

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