Date posted: May 3, 2016
Rupert Cook has been invited to join the Reading UK 2050 initiative, a group of design professionals brought together by Barton Willmore to create a Vision of how Reading could look in 2050.
Founded in partnership with Reading University and economic development company Reading CIC, the three organisations have joined forces to create a strategic, long-term vision that will support Reading’s growth and prosperity, ensuring delivery of a legacy of a truly smart and sustainable city, by 2050.
This has included a series of events, engaging with local organisations, businesses and the community to help build, shape and create a vision for Reading. An interactive workshop utilised Rupert’s design skills and area knowledge alongside those of Master Planners, Urban Designers, Architects, Landscape Designers and Branding consultants, to stimulate discussion and ideas on the region and urban development. The conclusion of the event focused on what ‘A smart and sustainable Reading would look like’, looking at how all the work that had been done up until this point can develop into real, tangible development or activity within Reading.
A major urban area such as Reading faces key challenges in its future. Although it is not yet officially a ‘city’, Reading, as part of a wider Reading/Wokingham urban area, has a current population of 318,000 (2011), and this is set to grow to 362,400 by 2037.
Developing a Reading UK 2050 vision today is therefore very important because:
A better understanding is required of what a low carbon future would look like for Reading.
Creating a clear vision would help attract further inward investment and would help Reading retain and enhance its competitive edge.
There is a real opportunity to harness Reading’s economic growth potential in alliance with a focus on sustainable and low carbon living.
Reading could act as an exemplar for ‘future city’ thinking in the wider Thames Valley Berkshire Local Economic Partnership
There is an increasing number of partnership funding opportunities at city level in the UK and internationally around a ‘future cities’ agenda.
Subsequent to the workshops, the ambition is to develop a stronger visual impression of the way Reading may physically change, in terms of look and feel with considered intervention by 2050, in order to really inspire the business community and general public as to the possibilities for the town. A two-day public engagement event was held in March to garner the ideas and enthusiasm of the local community who live, work and play in Reading, and to exhibit the ideas generated to date by the group.
The findings are available to view online:
Rupert has been involved with the town of Reading for a number of years, sitting on the University of Reading School of Architecture’s ‘Advisory Industry Group’, and he is also a member of the newly established Reading Design Review Panel.