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Creating connected, inclusive science cities

Pictured (from left): Oxford City Council's cabinet member for planning and transport, Cllr Alex Hollingshurst, and Stephen Kelly, Head of Planning & Economy, Cambridge City Council

A snapshot of some of the conversation and questions in our second workshop at our Cambridge 'Science Cities' forum is below. For a full picture, please read our forthcoming forum report due for release this month.

Below, contributors highlight some of the most pressing issues in planning and developing inclusive science cities and outstanding places for collaboration in discovery, research and technology transfer.

Oxford City Council's Board Member for Planning & Transport, Councillor Alex Hollingshurst, reported from his table discussion:

'Most of our transport hubs are too hub-and-spoke and we need to design these on a network basis if we are to save people travelling too long distances to get to hospital appointments, for instance. Car usage is dropping in cities but increasing across rural areas - and we need to think beyond the city to address this.

While Dr Bruno Holthof of Oxford University Hospitals stated:

'Mobility and physical connectivity are vital. How Birmingham, Oxford and Cambridge are connected to London - and to the Crick - is important. We have talked a lot about rail stations but we have not cracked how we move around inside cities effectively.'

Bernie Foulkes of LDA Design posed the question:

'If you think of a place you love, it's rare that they (scientists and researchers) say the lab, but it's important to ask 'where do you feel you belong most?' when designing a campus.'

It is not just physical spaces that make a city and Dr Mike Snowden of Astra Zeneca explained why it is so important to attract a cross-section of thinking in a 'science city':

'There are other ways (beyond the purely physical environment) to create mindful spaces for people to have that Eureka moment. You need to attract a diversity of standard pharma and science individuals mixed with people from law and the humanities - a connection of minds.'

Dr David Hardman of Innovation Birmingham concluded:

'How do you orchestrate who is responsible for making the connections and introductions? You need a dedicated team of people to do this - and don't expect that just because you have two people in a room together that they are talking. You need to connect up the life sciences, the digital technology and the engineering teams'.

Read more of our research from the workshops in our event report.

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