Birmingham's new city centre park will help shed its "urban inferiority complex" and be an example to the rest of the world, regeneration experts claimed yesterday.

The significance of the #12 million project was outlined at the launch of a competition to get a "world class" design for the green "oasis" at Eastside.

City planners hope to turn a strip of land fronting the Millennium Point complex and neighbouring buildings in Curzon Street, and running nearly a kilometre long from the Digbeth Branch Canal to the Bullring and Selfridges, into Birmingham's first new public park in 125 years.

The city council said it would looking for a design that "redefines the concept of a park for the 21st Century".

Professor Kathyrn Moore, president of the Landscape Institute and a lecturer at the University of Central England's School of Architecture, added: "Birmingham has been a city with an urban inferiority complex.

"What this park can do is go a long way to putting the record straight."

She added the park would need to be "iconic" and innovative, in a similar way to the

Selfridges building. "This park has to capture the essence of urban modern cool. It has to reflect the zeitgeist or even better set a new creative agenda. It has to become the place to meet."