Vox pop

The European Capital of Culture 2008 is announced this week from a shortlist of six (Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, Newcastle and Oxford). Which would be your choice for the accolade and why?

‘Birmingham. For a long time this was a city I wasn’t really proud to call home. But today it’s radically different, with brave ambition and true diversity. It deserves to win, not just because it has been short changed in other key bids, but because it’s really reinvented itself over the past ten years. Come and see for yourself. ‘

Rebecca Battman, Managing director, Onbrand, Birmingham

‘I live in Birmingham so I’m biased. The most telling criteria is the perception versus reality gap. A visit here is like being surprised with a fantastically appetising menu when all you expected was a greasy kebab. Sadly, the British seem fixated on the greasy spoon menu, whereas overseas visitors are already dining in style.’

David Poole, Managing director, Boxer, Birmingham

‘Newcastle, as it would perfectly complement the current North East cultural renaissance. I’ve just been on a site visit of the Norman Foster spectacular dedicated to music on an international scale. The building easily compares to the Sydney Opera House and overlooks the award-winning Millennium bridge and the equally astonishing Baltic centre for contemporary art. The people of the North East relish their culture anyway and winning the bid can only celebrate it worldwide.’

David Coates, Managing director, NE6 Design Consultants, Newcastle upon Tyne

‘I can think of cultural reasons to visit all of them, apart from one – sorry Birmingham. So it may well deserve the investment. It’s undoubtedly a vibrant, multicultural city and I hear it’s gone under a real transformation recently. Apparently it’s one of the country’s best kept secrets, so maybe it’s time it was exposed.’

Aileen Geraghty, Managing director, 999 Design, London

‘The Year of the Visual Arts 1998, The Angel, The Baltic, The Sage, The Gateshead/ Newcastle Millennium Bridge, Northern Arts, Paul Collard, Antony Gormley, Katherine Tickell, Mark Knopfler, The Bigg Market, The Quayside, Kielder Sculpture Park, Andy Goldsworthy, semi-naked lads and lasses when it’s minus three degrees… For me it has to be the ‘Toon’, however, good luck to whoever gets it.’

James Acton, Head of design, Poulter Partners, Leeds

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