Eco-town design competition launched

A competition is underway to find inspiring designs for the planned "eco-towns" announced by the Government earlier this year.

Housing and planning minister Yvette Cooper launched the competition appealing for ideas from the best national and international thinkers in planning, design and architecture.

A panel of judges including experts from the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and The Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment will assess the entries.

The competition will focus on both practical design ideas and the design and development process, and awards will be handed out in a number of specialist areas and to the overall winner of the competition.

Members of the public will also be asked to judge the designs through a citizens' panel.

Ms Cooper said: "We need to deliver the best eco-towns for the sake of the planet and the next generation.

"However, we don't want each town to be the same, but to instead reflect the history, aspirations and character of each local area.

"This is why it is crucial that we involve local people and citizen juries are a great way of doing just that."

At the end of the competition, the best of the ideas will be used to create a reference tool for local authorities and developers taking forward proposals to create one of the ten planned eco-towns.

Government chiefs hope the towns will be large-scale, free-standing new settlements but with good links to nearby towns and cities and will be well-designed, attractive places to live.

They are also intended to be exemplars of sustainable building and living, and have their own strong identities reflecting local character and appeal.

Local authorities and developers interested in the eco-towns project had to register their interest by the end of October. Details of schemes are expected to be announced next year.

Kate Martin



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