National Infrastructure Commission Launches Oxford to Cambridge Corridor Competition

Malcolm Reading

At the moment its just a subscription link by a specialist form of architectural composition consultants

Some notable points however

As we recommended it is being commissioned by the NIC itself and stresses


However according to the accompanying notes

Initiative to launch at the end of June and offer competitors opportunity to influence strategic development and sustainable placemaking within the UK’s leading economic growth corridor.

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) is seeking visionary ideas for development

typologies across the corridor encompassing Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Oxford and Northampton that can contribute to delivering
the homes the area needs, integrate the delivery of infrastructure with high quality places and maintain the environmental and cultural character of the corridor.

This will be an open call for: forward-thinking ideas and proposals. We want visions that encompass a range of development typologies, which balance placemaking with efficient use of infrastructure. These need to frame sustainable development that maintains and/or protects the environment and cultural character within the arc encompassing four of the UK’s fastest-growing and most productive centres.

The competition welcomes: broad multidisciplinary teams – including international ones – of urban designers; architects; planning, policy, and community specialists; landscape designers; development economists;
and others – this can include non-specialists who bring insights and new thinking.

The social need here: is to creatively link new road and rail infrastructure with placemaking in the UK’s leading growth corridor. The orridor connecting Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford has the potential to be a distinctive


world-renowned network for science,technology and innovation. But its future success is not guaranteed.

A lack of sufficient and suitable housing presents a fundamental risk to the success of the area. Without a joined-up strategy for housing, jobs and infrastructure across the corridor, it will be left behind by its international competitors.
The NIC aims to unlock housing sites, improve land supply, and support well connected and sensitively-designed new communities, whilst bringing productive towns and cities closer together.

The free-to-enter competition: launches in June, will have two-stages, and concludes in the autumn. An honorarium of £10,000 will be paid to four shortlisted teams to develop their concept into a creative vision. Finalists’ entries used in the NIC’s report will be fully credited and these teams may be given continuing roles as the wider project develops.

To receive automatic notification of launch,Please return to the competition website:

Further details on the Cambridge Milton Keynes – Oxford Growth
corridor project can be found here:

This competition is commissioned by the National Infrastructure Commission and is being run by Malcolm Reading Consultants

What is worrying is that the competition is being launched without a firm government commitment and there is no clear prize, contract or role for the winning firm.  As a competition rather than a competiative tender with a firm RFP and draft contract it runs the risk of attracting the flashy and impractical rather than bold, practical but still visionary strategy.