Proposals sought that marry sustainable placemaking with infrastructure development

Cambridge University Library
The competition will link Cambridge with its traditional rival, Oxford

The National Infrastructure Commission and Malcolm Reading Consultants have launched an ideas competition that calls for forward-thinking, imaginative proposals to integrate sustainable placemaking with development and new infrastructure. The focus for the competition is the arc encompassing four of the UK’s fastest-growing and most productive centres: Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Northampton and Oxford.

The free-to-enter, two-stage contest is aimed at:

  • broad multidisciplinary teams of urban designers
  • architects
  • planning, policy, and community specialists
  • landscape designers
  • development economists
  • others with local knowledge and general insight

Submissions from international teams and students are welcome.

Set up in 2015, the National Infrastructure Commission is the United Kingdom’s leading independent voice on infrastructure policy and strategy, a key adviser to government, and benefits from strong cross-party support. The Commission has recommended that government implements the next phase of the highly anticipated East West Rail project and the planned Oxford to Cambridge Expressway, both of which are set to transform connectivity within this part of England.

Through the competition, the Commission will be seeking visionary ideas for development typologies across the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford corridor, which includes other important centres such as Northampton. Submissions should consider how to provide the homes the area needs: high quality places that integrate the proposed infrastructure and enhance the identity of the corridor as a single knowledge-intensive cluster, while working with its distinctive environmental and cultural character.Full details of the competition, which is run by Malcolm Reading Consultants, including team and submission requirements and the detailed brief, are available on the competition website.

Interested teams will need to read the Search Statement on the competition website before submitting their emerging concept, team details and registration information via email (using templates provided on the website). The deadline for entries is 14:00 BST 3 August 2017. At the second stage of the competition, four shortlisted teams will receive additional briefing and progress their concepts into creative visions, developed on a specific location within the corridor.

The final designs produced by the shortlist will be used in the Commission’s Report to government in late 2017 and will be fully credited to the authors. The teams may also be given a continuing role as the wider project develops.

The stage two deadline for shortlisted teams is expected to be in late September, and the winner announced in early November.

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