Birmingham is poised for its greatest period of growth in 100 years as the city finally breaks onto the global radar, planning chiefs said yesterday.
The line-up of new developments announced this year means the city will finally get the worldwide recognition in 2008 it deserves, according head of regeneration Clive Dutton last night.
And the next step for the city was for leaders to be more "demanding" - to make sure suburbs got the same focus that had transformed the city centre, he said.
"2008 will be the year when Birmingham will truly be going above the radar screen," said Mr Dutton, who is acting strategic director for regeneration at the council. "We have been flying under it in recent years."
He said the lineup of new developments, including the V Building, the New Street Gateway project and the potential airport expansion meant the city had reached a 'critical mass' of development.
"Success breeds success and now we will see exponential growth - more than anything we have witnessed for 100 years. You back a winner and people are attracted to successful things."
Mr Dutton was speaking before the launch of Birmingham: Shaping the City, a lavishly-illustrated book which celebrates the redevelopment and regeneration work that has gone on in the city.
And he said he was already looking forward to another edition of the book in five or six years' time, with the whole city as attractive and successful as the city centre is now.
And he said there were encouraging signs that regeneration projects would spring up in parts of Birmingham which have so far missed out on development, especially more run-down areas far away from the city centre.
"What I would like to see when we get to volume two is the same standards of stunning architecture that we see in the city centre now typifying other centres across the city," said Mr Dutton. "They should have the highest standards of design for public spaces. All design is about lifting the spirit.
"We must make sure the same demands we make of designers and developers in the city centre are the same demands we make of any other parts of the city, especially in our most disadvantaged areas."
And he said the continuing challenge for designers and planners in Birmingham over the coming years would be reconciling the need for thousands of new homes with the rigorous quality standards that had paid off so handsomely in Birmingham's regeneration so far.
The Birmingham: Shaping the City book was produced by the Royal Instute of British Architects in association with Birmingham City Council. Mr Dutton was a contributor to the book.
Mary King, the regional chair of RIBA, said the book was an illustration of how the city had evolved.
"One of the interesting things is the way throughout all of its history Birmingham has embraced architecture and used it to reflect the times of the city.
"Even in the 18th century they were building St Philip's, which is a wonderful building for what was quite a small place then, showing this was a town of ambitions greater than its size suggests.
"And now with Selfridges, I don't know a building that has so quickly become the image of a city. Even this book has it on the cover."
Council leader Mike Whitby described the book as a "testament to the successful partnership of public and private sector in creating the new developments in the new expanding city centre".
He added: "I congratulate the RIBA on publishing a beautiful book which showcases the best of the buildings that contribute to the city’s regeneration, and is a tribute to the both the ideas and artistry of the architects who designed them and the foresight and commitment of the developers who commissioned them."