The organiser of the second Wolfson Economics Prize is inviting landscape architects to enter the competition to come up with the best proposal for a new garden city.
The competition’s £250,000 first prize will be awarded to the entrant offering the best answer to the question: ‘How would you deliver a new Garden City which is visionary, economically viable, and popular?’
‘Landscape architects should definitely consider entering,’ says a spokesperson for competition organiser Policy Exchange. ‘As landscape architects know only too well, urban landscapes need to be very carefully designed to make liveable, attractive and inspiring places – focusing for example on materials, on the use of trees and planting, on movement and accessibility, on streets and squares where people want to meet and socialise, and on integrating buildings sensitively into the wider landscape context’.
The case for garden cities is overwhelming, Policy Exchange says, ‘with the current housing situation in the UK creating hardship and inequality for millions of people’, and finding an innovative way to build communities that truly provide for and support their residents is not simple to achieve.
Competition founder Simon Wolfson, chief executive of high street retail group Next and a Tory life peer, told journalists: ‘Garden cities provide a potential answer to the housing crisis in the UK. I want to challenge people to design a new city which is a credit to our age – architecturally inspiring, practical and desirable.’
The deadline for primary submissions will be 0900 (GMT) on Monday 3 March 2014.
Entrants are asked to explore the prize question in detail in a submission of up to 10,000 words (plus a non-technical summary of 1,000 words). Entrants may also include charts, maps, tables, etc, ‘and are welcome to add appendices containing ancillary material’.
Entrants are strongly advised to structure their submissions to cover the three closely interrelated criteria identified in the prize question, namely: vision, economic viability (and thus governance) and popularity.
With respect to vision: entrants should provide ideas for improving the quality of urban life through the architecture, civic design, public spaces, transport networks and infrastructure of a new city. They should ‘inspire readers with the possibilities that a modern city could offer in terms of quality of life and cost of living’. Entrants need also to show how the city can avoid relying on ‘a single penny of public money’ and be self-financing: ‘The wealth that can be created through the building of a new city must be more than enough to develop its infrastructure’.
Finally, entrants should also show how local support for a new city could be secured and demonstrated, ‘and aim to convince the judges that the proposals set out would stand a good chance of winning a local referendum’.
Entrants who are asked to submit secondary submissions but do not win the top prize each receive a £10,000 runner-up prize while judges can award discretionary so-called ‘light bulb’ prizes of £5,000. Judges include Tony Pidgley, chairman of house-builder Berkeley Group, and Places for People chief executive David Cowans.
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