PESTLE: Economic

Economic Overview


  • Iron and steel industries are our traditional economic engines, and these industries have a high tendency to produce air and water pollution.
  • The rise in air pollution has resulted in the wealthy evacuating Birmingham city, creating a socio-economic barrier within Metro Birmingham.
  • One case study has shown that if one lives in Birmingham, he/she has an 11% greater chance of mortality.
  • The decline in traditional materials industries has allowed room for new industries such as the biomedical (UAB), banking, retail, and insurance industries, have resulting in a diversification of our economy.
    • Also, most of the new industries are environmentally cleaner than our historical industries.
  • The boom in these current industries has resulted in continued significant increases in the population over the past few decades.
  • Transportation has been growing as a major source of air pollution and will continue to do so as Birmingham’s population increases. The abundance of automobiles and the lack of mass transit exacerbate the situation.
  • Long term policy relating to the zone placement and density of new development has been shown to decrease the commuting distance of city residents, which leads to less air pollution due to vehicle outputs.
  • Birmingham retains its particle pollution since it sits in a valley and has very little wind.


Three Big Ideas:


  1. Metro Birmingham’s current air quality issues take root in Birmingham’s traditional industries of the 20th century, iron and steel production, and these very industries have resulted in a socio-economic barrier within Metro Birmingham, the less wealthy being concentrated in Birmingham city.


  1. Currently, metro Birmingham has greater, more diversified, and cleaner industry and services than it traditionally had. Industry brings pollution and though Birmingham is not as large and industry-heavy as many other big cities, it ranks among the worst metropolitan areas for particle pollution. The result of metro Birmingham’s low-wind stagnant weather and that it’s sitting in a valley at the tail end of the Appalachian Mountains is retention of particle pollution.


3. It is very difficult to enact policy with environmental consideration when the city of Birmingham is in its current economic crisis. The city will need to reach economic and political stability before such ideas will be considered to be practical. The city will need to produce enough net income to be able to stably maintain its own operation before new projects are started.

submitted by Amiya, Greg, and Josh


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