Here’s what our audience wants to see in Birmingham

Downtown Birmingham
What do you want to see in Birmingham? We’ve got the deets. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

At Bham Now, we constantly write about what’s coming to Birmingham—from new breweries to franchises opening local storefronts. But what about what our audience thinks Birmingham needs? We asked our Facebook and LinkedIn followers to share what they want to see in The Magic City. Here’s what we discovered.

What does Birmingham need right now?

Birmingham
What’s coming to Birmingham in 2022? Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

Last month, we asked our audience what they think of Downtown Birmingham. A majority of our audience said they enjoy coming to downtown Birmingham for work or entertainment, but others suggested they want to see some changes. That made me curious—what do people want to see come to Birmingham? More breweries, new startups, retail options or something else entirely?

To learn more, we put up polls in November 2021 on Facebook and LinkedIn—on Facebook, we received 106 responses and on LinkedIn, we received 347 responses. Here are the most popular responses.

“Birmingham needs….”

LinkedIn poll
Results from our LinkedIn poll

1. Affordable housing 🏘️

Affordable, well-done housing was, by and large, the most popular response on both Facebook and LinkedIn. 44% of the 332 votes on LinkedIn went to “housing options”, and the majority of comments on Facebook were about affordable housing. Of course, there are different definitions of affordable, but every commenter agreed on the importance of affordable housing that is done well.

2. Startups 🌟

As you can see from the LinkedIn poll, 40% of votes want to see more startups. Luckily, Birmingham’s business scene is thriving, with more startups popping up and new opportunities for startups every year.

3. Public transportation 🚌

Here are a few of the comments our audience had about public transportation in Birmingham:

  • “Improved public transportation. I’d love to see a light rail line down 65-S and 280 from the city center. Imagine the highway traffic that could disappear along with environmental impact.”
  • “Public transit and transit-oriented housing.”

4. Bike + pedestrian lanes 🚲

Flex lane
Bham’s first flex lane. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

Clearly, there’s a theme emerging. Our audience wants Birmingham to be more accessible—that means more public transportation, bike lanes and pedestrian lanes. Birmingham’s first flex lane on 20th Street was built in March of 2021, and it’s a great option that includes a bike lane, outdoor dining options, curbside pick up and increased pedestrian safety.

5. Downtown retail + grocery shops 🛍️

The rise in online shopping has led to less retail, but our audience agrees on the importance of downtown retail options to bring people to the area. From suggestions of shopping centers with chains like Target to recommendations for more locally-owned stores, downtown retail is a major want for our audience.

We love supporting local—that means prioritizing our locally-owned businesses and patronizing the ones that are open now.

6. Green spaces 🌳

Birmingham Botanical Gardens
The gorgeous Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

From improving air quality to mental health, green spaces are amazing resources in cities. Birmingham is lucky to have several beautiful parks, but our audience wants to see even more green spaces throughout the Greater Birmingham area.

7. Entertainment districts 🥳

Entertainment districts, or districts with a concentration of venues like theatres, also allow for open containers of alcoholic beverages throughout the district. Because of these open container laws and exciting options, entertainment districts can lead to more foot traffic and increased tourism. Here’s a look at Birmingham’s entertainment districts currently open or coming soon:

What do you want to see most in Birmingham? Let us know by tagging @BhamNow on social!

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Cecilia Wood
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