Inititiative backed by National Infrastructure Commission

Consultants including planners and architects have been given until August to submit entries for an ideas competition for placemaking around the planned Cambridge to Oxford transport route.

The competition has been launched by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) and wants “forward-thinking, imaginative proposals to integrate sustainable placemaking with development and new infrastructure”.

The focus of the competition, which is being organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants and has a deadline of August 3, will focus on Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Northampton and Oxford.

The two-stage contest is aimed at multidisciplinary teams of urban designers, architects, planning, policy and community specialists, landscape designers, development economists and others with local knowledge and general insight. Submissions from international teams and students are welcome, the organisers said.

The project brief says: “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.”

Judges include NIC chair Andrew Adonis, Bridget Rosewell, former chief economic adviser to the GLA, and dRMM co-founder and NIC commissioner Sadie Morgan (pictured).

Adonis said: “I’m calling on leaders in architecture, economics, policy-making and planning, as well as local residents, to help shape that future, and put forward ideas that will make this growth corridor an attractive place to live and work for generations to come.”

Morgan added: “This is more than just good design – this is about creating a vibrant and attractive community that will stand the test of time and support the future development and prosperity of a unique part of the country.”

The top four teams will be given an honorarium of £10,000 to develop their initial submission.

Last November, the NIC published an interim report on the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor and said it “could be a world renowned centre for science, technology and innovation” after being tasked six months earlier by the then chancellor George Osborne to “maximise the potential” of the corridor. It stretches approximately 130 miles around the north and west of London’s green belt and has a population of 3.3 million people.

The final designs produced by the shortlist will be used in the commission’s report to government later this year.

More details can be found here.