Plans for an ambitions 15-year £1.8 billion project to "socially engineer" a new Solihull and bridge the borough's north-south divide, have been revealed.
One of the biggest social reconstruction schemes in the country is seeking to end the "scandal" that sees people in south Solihull live a decade longer than those in the north.
It involves the wholesale bulldozing of run-down estates, tower blocks and shopping centres in the borough’s north to be replaced by new family homes and village-style shopping centres.
It will also mean tearing down every nursery, primary and secondary school in the area and the creation of new state-of-the-art schools.
The scheme represents the biggest efforts to lift a community out of deprivation, poor housing, low aspirations and educational under-achievement in the West Midlands.
But the borough's leaders stressed it was ultimately up to residents to grasp the opportunities to improve their lives.
Ken Meeson, leader of Solihull Council and cabinet member for children, said: "We are creating a new community. This is by far the largest venture ever in this authority – it is social engineering to some extent.
"We want to see educational standards rise to the level that they are in the rest of the borough and we want to see people’s health improve."
The contrast between affluent south Solihull – one of the wealthiest parts of the country, characterised by highly-educated professionals and an above average number of millionaires – and the north is dramatic.
A child born in the north of the borough, which contains some of the most deprived wards in the country, will on average die seven years earlier than one born in the south. The lifespan difference between people in Smith’s Wood ward in the north and Silhill in the south is 10 years.
A child of the north is also four times more likely to have no qualifications than their southern counterpart.
Mark Rogers, acting chief executive of Solihull Council, said: "In a nutshell, we are taking education, housing, the employment and skills needs of the area and giving them a shake-up by rebuilding all the schools.
"Fundamentally, the thing we need to do is change people’s expectations. Really raise them up and say ’you are going to get the best schools, the best houses and we are going to bring new businesses to the area so there will be jobs locally'.
"It is saying you really can expect the same deal as people who live in other parts of the borough. It is the biggest thing to happen to Solihull since it was created."
Over the next decade and a half, 1,000 acres in Chelmsley Wood, Smith’s Wood and Kingshurst & Fordbridge will effectively be turned into a building site.
More than 40,000 people will be affected by the redevelopment which will see outdated 1960s homes, tower blocks and ugly, graffiti-strewn shopping centres demolished.
Five "village centres" will be constructed offering new shops and facilities; 8,000 homes will be created and 12,500 existing homes refurbished. Roads and public space will also be enhanced.
A body called the North Solihull Partnership consisting of private and public sector investors is leading the ground-breaking programme.
Replacement of secondary schools is being delivered though a separate £80 million drive under the Government’s Building Schools for the Future programme.
Paul Hanbury, project director of primary school regeneration for the North Solihull Partnership, said: "The inequality in life expectancy is a scandal. Part of the regeneration philosophy is about saying if we are going to be serious about investing in these communities we have to invest in the whole of it to be sustainable.
"You can come in and build new houses but you won’t change the behaviour and inherent attitude embedded in the community.
"If you are bringing in new schools you are trying to change the culture that limits some people that live here."
The former headteacher and Government adviser said replacing run-down infrastructure with modern and aesthetically pleasing surroundings was vital to lifting people’s aspirations.
He added: "In 15 years time, a five-year-old child of today will be 20 and should have a decent education, good job in the area with a young family with aspirations. That is going to happen."