Birmingham is a city in the West Midlands county of England. The city has a population of just over 1,000,000 with a high ethnic percentage.
It is a city steeped in industrial heritage and generated wealth through this. The vast array of industries and factories within the city resulted in vast slums being constructed close to the city and the factories. It expanded at a rapid rate, requiring it to absorb massive amounts of surrounding land. Industry died down during the early 20th century but still retained a buzz.
During the Second World War, it suffered heavily at the hands of the German bombers. It was one of the most heavily bombed cities in the country because of its industry. However, it also suffered heavily after the war to the developers who took advantage of the anti-Victorianism feeling in the city and the expiration of 99 year long leases on buildings with fine Victorian grandeur. The developers promptly demolished these. Again, Birmingham became an expanding city and as house construction in the interwar period and failed to sufficiently sort the problem, a new solution was needed. Many houses had also been destroyed in the war, and the dislike of the Victorian slums which consisted of terraced & back to back houses. The need to redevelop these was important. Birmingham designated five redevelopment areas in need of regeneration and postwar construction was focused up on these areas which had been slums or heavily bombed. Birmingham became a nest for tower blocks and council estates thus giving it the name "concrete jungle", which was further reinforced by the construction of elevated motorways, flyovers and concrete office buildings which made the city skyline an enormous density.
Between 1945 and 1979, around 400 tower blocks were constructed in the city by Birmingham City Council under the eye of Sir Herbert Manzoni and various city architects. The first of these was the Duddeston Four in the Duddeston and Nechells Redevelopment Area.
Large overspill estates were built such as the notorious Castle Vale estate, which has now been totally redeveloped with the demolition of over 30 tower blocks just leaving two. Another was Chelmsley Wood which has not witnessed and benefited from similar redevelopment of that in Castle Vale.
In recent years, Birmingham has absorbed other areas, such as Sutton Coldfield and has commenced a major demolition programme. Dozens of tower blocks have been demolished and large council estates have been wiped off the map such as Lee Bank. The inner ring road and Bull Ring were totally removed and redeveloped.
The city is now vibrant and modern with a variety of cultural aspects. It is the second largest city in the UK.
Many private estates have been built with low rise semi-detached houses and detached houses built in a better quality to those of the postwar period, though they have been criticised for their lack of ingenuity in design. Birmingham is set to expand again with a demand for more homes. It continues to redevelop and the population continues to grow, despite a slowing and partial decrease in recent years.