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      The Sustainable Masterplan is more than a Five-Year Mission

      Three part Q&A with Richard Hepworth, Director of Project Management, Urban & Civic

      20 Feb 2022 Richard Hepworth, Director of Project Management, Urban & Civic

      1. Urban & Civic has a rich history delivering new infrastructure and revitalising communities in the Oxford-Cambridge Arc. Could you explain more about Urban & Civic’s mission since being acquired by the Wellcome Trust?

      Urban & Civic’s project work is generally no more than 100 miles from London, and this portfolio currently consists of developments with outline planning consent for approximately 44,000 homes that will be delivered over the next 30 years. We’re also promoting 9 million square feet of commercial and employment space, in addition to the necessary community facilities that these masterplans include. 

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      2. You mentioned ‘core values’ and how these are unique to your approach to considered growth across the Arc. What’s special from a sustainability perspective?

      It’s interesting that this report categorises the latent potential awaiting activation in the Oxford-Cambridge Arc as different ‘capital’ themes, because that is also how we’ve been thinking about Urban & Civic’s role as a master developer, in the variety of sustainability-led contributions we need to make to present and future communities. 

      To put this in a different way, because we build at scale and therefore over much longer periods of time, we set our horizons far greater into the distance. In relation to sustainability and enhancement of the natural environment of the Arc, this means baking in environmental and climate considerations at the outset of our design approach, ensuring flexibility in what we propose and consistency  across every site we deliver. 

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      3. The Arc has the potential to be the nation’s standard-bearer in the pursuit of carbon neutrality and more efficient environmental practices. How are you advancing this now, ahead of future legislation?

      Urban&Civic has identified three core challenges – climate change and the need for carbon reduction; biodiversity nett gain and the need to protect and enhance our environment; health and wellbeing and the need to create communities and work places which better meet whole life expectations. All three link and this circular review is implicit in everything we do – it’s a flexible and yet resilient agenda, which pieces together everything I mentioned earlier to be comprehensive in our environmental and climate outlook. That’s not to say that these practices weren’t already around in one form or another, but rather that  we are actively implementing the science and technology  rather than simply talking  about it.

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