VeloCity is a strategic approach to growth and placemaking, centred on a re-imagining of the village for the 21st century. VeloCity is:
People over cars: Creating new movement networks
Compact not sprawl: Keeping the special character of our villages
Connected not isolated: Linking villages with shared resources, to benefit everyone
Opportunity over decline: Unlocking land for new places to live and work
Resilient not fragile: Promoting sustainable environments, health and well-being
Our vision has been developed to enrich village life and a sense of place, while creating new homes and working environments in healthy and socially cohesive places. It comprises a ‘polycentric’ cluster of new and ‘expanded’ villages, which are connected to one another by a fine-grained network of cycle routes and within cycling distance of new/existing rail stations. It proposes a way to install a low-cost high-speed data network and introduce technology to foster a more sustainable environment and new employment opportunities with an emphasis on the retention and enhancement of the natural environment.
The village clusters are supported by the necessary social, environmental and economic infrastructure to enable them to operate in a sustainable manner within their environmental limits. Cycling as the mainstream form of movement will shape the way places are planned and the way people communicate and relate to one another, forming resilient, intergenerational communities and a strong identity for this progressive region.
“Our approach is incremental, carefully honed, one that genuinely delivers a circular economy with a low carbon footprint.”
Since winning the National Infrastructure Commission competition, we have spoken widely about VeloCity vision to government, local authorities, communities and landowners and won funding from the Royal Institute of British Architects as well as the William Sutton Prize for Excellence in Social Housing Design and Placemaking from Clarion Housing Group.
These funding streams have enabled us to further develop our research and understanding of how villages can evolve. We published the two above reports – Modern Day Picturesque: Existing and emerging models of rural densification launched at the RIBA in March 2020, and Growing Villages Differently – our manifesto for the 21st Century Village launched at the Oslo Architecture Triennale in September 2019. The exhibition overarching theme of Degrowth explored new ways of shaping our society in the age of climate emergency.