LDA Design leads 'Science Cities and the Arc' workshop


Back to college: Tom Perry of LDA Design (standing) leads a workshop at 'Science Cities and the Arc' at Newnham Cambridge, with Anna Strongman of Oxford University Development presenting


At our recent 'Science Cities and the Arc' forum at Newnham College Cambridge, we were fortunate to have an experienced planning and design workshop moderator - Tom Perry of LDA Design - setting a creative task for the assembled guests and contributors from R&D campuses, health trusts, universities, local authorities, architects, planners, surveyors and lawyers.


Tom described the variety of LDA Design's projects around campus design, giving the example of single use sites with large numbers of cars such as Culham in Oxfordshire where most drive to work despite having the station close at hand, and having huge acres of mown grass ('which could be put to more interesting use'). He described the HereEast innovation campus on the Olympic Park at Stratford, which has a school and housing and where the landscape between the buildings becomes the spaces where people interact. Also the Cambridge Science Park where the fantastic and mature landscape is underused, and where people could be coaxed outside with spaces for playing petanque or table tennis.


Tom proposed:


'Lets think about how we might transform some of our science and business parks into something more sustainable, vibrant and valuable. We will be using the 'the cover story mock up' workshop to think about how we use spaces in your science parks, real or imaginary, and how they might grow over time where you might celebrate news in a national or regional paper with a key milestone in 10 year's time. This might be going Net Zero, or winning an award, or your first occupant of the onsite nursery returning to work at the science park after 20 years.'


Among the inventive feedback presentations, the Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council stood out - Cllr Bridget Smith took the real-life example of Northstowe in Cambridgeshire, saying:


'Northstowe was a government-backed healthy towns project when it started and we want to build on that with an enterprise zone. The science centre will be built around a market square with lots of opportunities for pop-ups.


'The Headline in the Northstowe Gazette is 'Northstowians live long and prosper'. A forty year longitudinal study shows record low levels of obesity, excellent cardiovascular health and very healthy teeth. Northstowe is a world leading place for food research, with a thriving food hub on the market square. The whole site will be very attractive to people in food science, and 90% of food will be sourced from within 10 miles. There is no food waste so there is no need for council collections. Research shows that 80% of the community are growing their own food as well.'


Professor Lynette Ryals of Cranfield University spoke about ambitions for the new university at Milton Keynes, MK:U, drawing on an imaginary news report in the Financial Times in October 2031:


'We have news of the first £1 billion IPO of a knowledge company based at the MK:U innovation hub. It's a 'unicorn' working on autonomous vehicle design. The challenge for Milton Keynes is moving reputation from low tech to high tech jobs and using MK:U to drive this sector forward.'


Lynette concluded by saying 'There are a couple of quotes in the article':


'Milton Keynes Council is delighted to top the Flourishing Index'


Elon Musk said: 'I wish I had though of that.'


Below: workshop participants (from left) Fred Pilbrow of Pilbrow and Partners, and William Rooke and Steven Sensecall of Carter Jonas





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