The next few weeks will decide the choices that must be made for the Black Country to become a dynamic and desirable place to live and work.
The Black Country Study, led by the Black Country Consortium on behalf of the West Midlands Regional Assembly, has produced radical proposals in the form of a Choices consultation report that sets out to transform the area's employment potential, improve the quality of its housing and the environment.
The move follows Government proposals last year that a Black Country sub- regional study be undertaken to resolve a number of inter-connected issues affecting the area.
Individuals, companies, organisations and "all who care about the future of Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall" are being urged to have their say about actions that could change its landscape for ever.
The public will be asked for their views on, for example, whether developing land to generate jobs and new businesses should be given preference over leisure uses.
The eventual outcomes will be used to revise the existing Regional Spatial Strategy, which sets out a planning framework for the whole of the West Midlands.
Interested parties have until January 6 to get their point across.
The BCC's chief executive, Sarah Middleton, says the six weeks of consultation will be critical to the creation of vibrant and sustainable communities in and around the area's four boroughs.
She said: "Tough choices must first be made to see how the local Black Country economy should look in 2033.
"We aim to reverse the trend of long-term economic decline in the Black Country. Its population is falling, and a significant number of those who remain lack the skills needed for the modern economy.
"We believe we have devised strategies that can transform every aspect of the area's economy, but it is vital that the public has its say about the choices that must now be made. No change is not an option.
"Public involvement is vital, because if the Black Country merely continues as it has for many years, it will become increasingly peripheral and its decline will continue."
Chairman of BCC, Stewart Towe, stressed that Dudley, Sandwell, Wolverhampton and Walsall had agreed a partnership approach to implementing the final proposals.
"For the first time in decades, each is committed to working together to a common goal, to eradicate issues which have handicapped the Black Country, such as skill shortages."
Mr Towe is optimistic about the potential for achievement when the four authorities focus on the area's long term economic future.
What people say will inform future work to draw up a Preferred Option for the Black Country, which will be presented to Government in Spring 2006.
The consultation report can be downloaded from www. blackcountryconsortium. co. uk, or a copy requested from blackcountrystudy@ blackcountryconsortium.co.uk. Copies are available at public libraries and the main council buildings of each Black Country local authority.