Birmingham's Civic Society says it wants to commission a piece of artwork which would "define the city worldwide" to mark the group's centenary.
The society said the sculpture, which it said would be positioned in the city centre, would be completed in time to celebrate its 100th year in 2018.
It said it wanted to raise at least £1m purely from donations to fund it.
The society held a meeting on Wednesday evening with residents to debate what statue could represent Birmingham.
Glynn Pitchford, from the civic society, said the city needed something that would "put it on the global map".
He said: "People will want to come to see the public work of art, whatever it is we choose.
"They will photograph it, it will go on postcards, it will go around the world. People will visit Birmingham - not just to see the statue - they will want to see it and tick the box in the same way that we go to New York and we tick the box once we've seen the Statue of Liberty."
Art history expert Matthew Rampley, from the University of Birmingham, said the city needed something to give it an "obvious public profile".
He said: "Whatever people think of it, Antony Gormley's Angel Of The North has given Gateshead a profile it didn't have before, and Birmingham could benefit from something like that."
Professor Rampley said any chosen design would have to be "visibly striking" to attract visitors who would want to come to see it.
'Spirit of Birmingham'
The civic society said that once it had an idea of what sort of design it wanted to commission it would proceed with raising funds and hold an open competition for artists to submit their plans.
People from across the city were asked by BBC Midlands Today what sort of design they would want to see.
The Birmingham Chamber of Commerce presented a sketch from its adopted artist Peter Latchford of a steel sculpture weaving its way through the Council House, which it said was designed to represent the "spirit of Birmingham".
The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Rev David Urquhart, said he wanted to see something like Chicago's Cloud Gate sculpture, which he said would represent nature's influence on world faiths.
Viewer Jean Hobbs suggested turning a Mini Clubman car, which has been uncovered 30 years after being left in a tunnel under the Longbridge factory where it was built, into a sculpture to show off the city's car-making history.
Fellow viewer Mae Bourbage suggested bringing back the King Kong statue, which was built and positioned outside the Bull Ring in the early 1970s.
- 14 May 2013