- Cambridge, England - Planning for knowledge-led Growth in a tightly constrained Sub-Region    click here to open paper content1262 kb
by    Gossop, Chris | Chris.Gossop.a6@pins.gsi.gov.uk   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Cambridge is experiencing significant expansion of its high-tech industry and a mismatch between homes and jobs. The paper explores the latest strategies for redressing the imbalances; these plans include a prototype 'eco-town', Northstowe.
The Cambridge Sub Region is experiencing significant, employment-led growth, brought about largely by the rapid expansion of high technology firms – the ‘Cambridge Phenomenon’. This has happened notwithstanding the existence of a tightly drawn Green Belt that has restricted the outward growth of the city. This unabated economic growth, linked to the presence of a world class University, has led to the establishment of the Cambridge Science Park, the Addenbrookes biomedical complex, and other science-based developments.

Prior to 2003 and the current Structure Plan, planning policy had sought to protect the historic character of Cambridge by dispersing housing to towns and villages beyond the Green Belt. And as job growth came to outstrip house building, house prices in Cambridge rose rapidly and workers increasingly began to live at some distance from the City, leading to longer distance, mainly car-borne commuting. The old planning framework had become unsustainable.

The latest planning maintains the Green Belt but has provided for the redrawing of its boundaries. It seeks to redress the balance between employment and homes, and to reduce the distances between them, as well as reliance on the car. There is to be a significant expansion of Cambridge’s built up area, with new urban quarters, and a new settlement, Northstowe, a prototype ‘eco–town’ containing employment as well as homes, is to be built beyond the Green Belt.

This paper examines these new strategies for growth, looking in particular at the plans for Northstowe, and the role that a mass transit guided bus system will play. Do these schemes meet the objectives set for them in local planning, as well as the UK Government’s aims for ‘sustainable communities’? And can their quality as places to live (and work) be guaranteed in the face of building for quantity? What lessons can be drawn for possible wider application?
Cambridge,high-tech, new settlements, mass transit
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