The competition, which launched in June, focuses on the 130-mile corridor connecting Cambridge, Milton Keyes, Northampton, and Oxford. It acknowledges the presence of world-leading universities, highly skilled workers and tech firms, but also the corridor’s failure to function as a connected economic zone.
A total of 58 teams from the UK and abroad entered the competition, anonymously submitting proposals for how the corridor might be developed in the future.
A jury of leaders in the areas of economics, infrastructure, design, and placemaking announced the shortlist in August and the winner of the competition is expected to be announced next month.
The four finalists are:
Barton Willmore – The CaMKoX Innovation Hive Delivery Guide
Not a fixed masterplan but an approach that envisages organic growth within communities, delivering not just homes but vibrant places to support innovation and business creation. A carefully guided approach to encourage communities to acquire a rich urban form and varied sense of place. Situated within a new National Park, the proposals set a new benchmark for development that enhances the natural environment.
Fletcher Priest Architects – The Mid-Vale Archipelago
A constellation of linked, distinctive and compact places set within a continuous landscape. They propose ‘middle sites’ between the corridor’s major urban centres that combine the best of village life with the critical mass of larger towns while preserving and enhancing landscape character. The desire for beneficial relationships between existing and new communities is central – along with a patient approach to delivery that prioritizes long-term capital benefits over short-term windfall returns.
Mae – Urcadia
An ecologically rich urban settlement for the Just About Managing, the Yes-in-my-back-yards, the Millennials, and Generation Rent in the form of a ‘New Living Campus’. Their proposal combines the intensity and density of a city with the pastoral richness of the English countryside enhanced for leisure use, health and well-being and food production. New construction technologies facilitate economic housing for a generation suffering from no realistic prospect of owning a home.
Tibbalds Planning & Urban Design – VeloCity
A unique region in the UK that is no longer reliant on the car, supported by an integrated road-and-rail transport strategy linked to a network of local, medium and long distance cycle routes. Focusing on six villages situated to the south-east of one of the new stations on the Oxford to Cambridge rail link, VeloCity reimagines the 21st-century village.
The online gallery can be viewed here.
Comments on the finalists’ work are welcome and can be submitted here.
News and Project Descriptions via Malcolm Reading Consultants.
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