Design shortlist unveiled for first new garden city of the 21st Century

An international design competition has been whittled down to just five finalists by a judging panel as the search for the most inspiring ideas for the first new garden city of the 21st Century continues.

The shortlist of winning designs for the competition has been announced today (2 July) at the Housing Design Awards 2018, as part of a special seminar organised with the NHS to challenge homebuilders to support better health outcomes.

Ebbsfleet will be the largest of ten “healthy” new housing developments in England which are due to be built under an NHS scheme aimed at tackling the nation’s obesity, dementia and general illness problems. Plans include homes with virtual access to GP services, safe green spaces to play and fast-food-free zones around schools.

Managed by The Landscape Institute, the competition is in two stages. The first stage of the competition invited entries from landscape professionals, or teams including landscape professionals, with multidisciplinary teams incorporating artists and engineers particularly encouraged. Entries needed to address the shape of the whole city, rather than just one site, with the judges looking beyond Ebbsfleet at the wider health of the nation with the ideas submitted.

Dan Cook, chief executive of the Landscape Institute, said: “At the Landscape Institute we are fully aware of the power of good landscape to improve our health and well-being. The work we have done on public health and landscape has gathered a growing evidence base that green spaces play a vital role in healthy living.”

Kevin McKeogh, director of the Ebbsfleet Healthy New Town Programme, added: “Ebbsfleet Garden City’s landscape with its white chalk cliffs, open green spaces and lakes offers a unique opportunity to provide a landscape that challenges the norm. It will also be creating 15,000 new homes and 30,000 jobs, so it is important that the landscape delivers a sustainable and healthy place for people to live and work.”

Shortlisted finalists to go forward to stage two of the competition:

  • The Chalk Walk - Additive Urbanism, a landscape design studio led by Matthew Halsall CMLI. In collaboration with Ryan Szyani, architectural installation designer. 
  • The Ebbsfleet Sublime - The disruptive use of the picturesque to create wellbeing and place - LDA Design in collaboration with Architecture 00 and Vivid Economics 
  • Everyday Adventure - Huskisson Brown Associates working with Claire Powell, a chartered physiotherapist
  • H.A.L.O - a model for growing a healthy infrastructure - Bradley Murphy Design in collaboration with JTP, Peter Brett Associates and Sebastien Boyesen
  • Swanscombe Gorge Park - By Chris Blandford Associates in association with Buro Happold and Proctor & Matthews

Located 17 minutes from central London by high-speed rail and two hours from Paris and Brussels by Eurostar, Ebbsfleet is a major railway hub between London and Europe. It also has a unique topography that could be incorporated into any design concept - from frontages along the River Thames, to lakes and extensively-quarried chalk hills and valleys, to historic sites such as the Gilbert Scott-designed church in Northfleet.

Dr Sara McCafferty, Healthy New Towns Programme lead at NHS England said: “Ebbsfleet is the largest of the 10 demonstrator sites in NHS England’s Healthy New Towns programme, which seeks to improve the design of new places in a way that improves the health and wellbeing of the residents that live there.  This competition has created an exciting opportunity to take an innovative approach to the design and sustainability of the city and, in particular how land can be used to support the health of its community.”

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