5th Studio’s spatial study for the National Infrastructure Commission illustrates how growth in the 100-mile Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge arc can be realised, securing the future of this critical engine of the UK’s knowledge economy. The study proposes the establishment of the first New Towns in a generation, as part of a diverse range of development typologies that draw upon exemplars from around the world to make strong and beautiful places rooted in their locale. The study identifies optimal relationships between transformational growth and associated infrastructure, including East-West Rail and the proposed Expressway.

The cities and towns across the arc are some of the UK’s most productive and innovative places, but their continued success and vitality is not guaranteed. Oxford and Cambridge have some of the most expensive housing in the UK; the lack of suitable, affordable housing in the corridor threatens sustainable growth.

The corridor is currently hard to negotiate, and needs connective infrastructure to make stronger, more functional relationships between its constituent cities and towns. A lack of integrated metropolitan transport infrastructure results in congested cities, affecting productivity and blighting the environment.

Without swift and determined action this innovative landscape will fall behind its international competitors and fail to attract and retain the talent and skills it needs. With a finite amount of land, it is critical that this scarce resource is used in the most optimal way. 5th Studio’s study explores the consequences of accommodating up to 1.9 million additional people in the corridor by 2050.

NIC Commissioner Sadie Morgan said:

“The work of 5th Studio was instrumental in framing the ambition of the NIC final report on Cambridge Milton Keynes Oxford arc. Their work is rigorous, thoughtful and credible and they have been a pleasure to work with.”

Both our study and the NIC’s report to Government - Partnering for Prosperity: A new deal for the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford Arc - are available for download as PDF documents.

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