THE CONNECTED CITY
Brighton & Hove has long aspired and broadly succeeded, to connect people with place, business with community and opportunity with equality. These connections and the value they generate, whether in better public services, stronger communities, growth of the economy, shared information, reduced cost, or the bringing together of partnerships are ever more important as we think about our city and its place in the world.
Our city is located between the sea and the South Downs National Park. It is known for its easy-going approach to life, quirky shopping, restaurants, festivals and beautiful architecture. Many people choose to come and live in the city for the opportunities it offers. However, Brighton & Hove is one of the most deprived areas in the South East and has a population with significant inequalities and health needs.
One of the world’s first seaside resorts, Brighton & Hove is famous for its vibrant, cosmopolitan lifestyle with a very strong arts and cultural offer. The city is also a major European business conference and tourist destination which attracts around 8.5 million visitors per year and supports established cultural activities such as the Brighton Festival, exhibitions and community based events.
In 2011, there were 273,400 people living in the city with a predicted increase to 291,000 by 2030. The greatest increase is in those aged 25-34 and 50-59. There will also be more children under 15 years old and slightly more people aged 75 years or over.
Brighton & Hove has a flourishing community and voluntary sector, made up of over 1,600 groups and organisations, which provide services and support to citizens of the city. They work with public and private sector partners to ensure that those who are in need have their needs met. The local community and voluntary sector is a vital part of our local economy as well as our support services. A citywide survey, known as the City Tracker, highlighted that 93% of people who use local charities and community groups were satisfied with the services they receive. The national survey of charities and social enterprises also reports a greater understanding, respect for and valuing of the community and voluntary sector organisations in Brighton & Hove by its public sector partners than other comparable areas, demonstrating good relations between the different sectors in the city.
Our city is a key part of a much wider economic geography that stretches to Lewes and Newhaven in the east, Shoreham and Worthing in the west and north towards Hassocks, Burgess Hill and Crawley. Within this area, there are approximately 780,000 residents, of which over 470,000 are aged 20-64 years. This is part of the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area.
Benefiting from and supporting that core offer are two successful universities, an innovative business community driven by a busy throng of entrepreneurs, a mass of savvy independent traders and a whole raft of artists, creative people and opinion shapers. This world-class university offer provides the fourth best qualified workforce in the UK, which has fuelled knowledge intensive growth through the Creative, Digital and Information Technology (CDIT) Sector. Our city also benefits from emerging opportunities in environmental industries, proximity to London, Gatwick Airport, two Channel ports within the city region and good infrastructure links northwards.
Our city has an international reputation, growing influence and a reach far beyond its geographical size. It seeks attention and looks for opportunities to make itself known, not least because one of our most important economic drivers is tourism, with 8.5 million visitors attracted each year by our vibrant cultural and environmental offer.
Our economy has endured the stresses of the global economic situation because of the strength of this unique offer. People like to come here, not only because of the ‘big ticket’ attractions, but because our city looks and feels different. The way we celebrate our communities, our cultural attractions, the quality of our urban environment, surrounding downland and coastal sea, all of these things direct the look and feel of Brighton & Hove.
We need however to think about our city anew, in light of the changing economic challenges and our position in a global marketplace. How do we want to progress? How will we sustain our economy? How can we enhance our attractiveness? How should we foster relationships within our city and with our neighbours? How should we look after the vulnerable and protect our diversity?
Only by working in partnership to address these issues can we sustain our city’s future, and we must do it in the knowledge that we are going to be less able to call upon government support.
This is the ambition of Brighton & Hove Connected. This strategy document outlines how we intend to improve connections across the city and outside its boundaries to ensure its sustainable future and the greatest possible benefits for its citizens.
More information about the purpose and membership of Brighton & Hove Connected and our other partnerships, can be found on our website - www.bhconnected.org.uk