November 18, 2022 11:00am

Future of Downtown Birmingham

Here's how local leaders feel about the future of Birmingham's city center

Photo of Ty West
Birmingham, AL Correspondent
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A good portion of local leaders are spending about the same amount of time in Birmingham’s city center as they were before the pandemic, but they are concerned about the long-term effects of hybrid work on downtown.

That’s the biggest takeaway from the latest Power Poll Birmingham, which is a monthly poll of local leaders.

Nearly half of respondents (47%) said they are spending about the same amount of time in the city center as they did prior to 2020. Nearly one-third of respondents (31%) said they were spending less time in the city center, compared to 23% of respondents who said they were spending more time there.

When asked about the top concerns for the future of downtown, the effects of hybrid work (24%) and parking (23%) were the most popular choices, but answers varied heavily.

Many downtowns around the nation are grappling with the effects of employers often no longer requiring five days per week in the office — a dynamic that is posing a challenge for small businesses, local governments and landlords alike.

Not surprisingly for a metro that often draws international acclaim for its culinary scene, respondents said the city center’s restaurant and nightlife scene was its top asset — although greenspaces like Railroad Park and Rotary Trail weren’t far behind.

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About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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