News: 19 October 2017Reading 2050 Vision Launch - a smart and sustainable Reading

Last night saw the launch of the Reading 2050 Vision, a project Barton Willmore have been working on in partnership with Reading UK and the University of Reading for the last four years.

The Vision, which was launched at the brand new Thames Lido, outlines an ambitious, smart and sustainable future for Reading, putting green technology, culture and diversity and Reading’s rivers and parks at the heart of its future development. The vision looks ahead 33 years, envisaging a dynamic city in which we:

  • Share success to support and enable thriving communities
  • Deliver a real sense of place and identity
  • Thrive on cultural and cross-generational diversity
  • Receive recognition for our heritage and natural assets
  • Embed technology to deliver innovation and low carbon living for all
  • Welcome ethical and sustainable businesses

The Reading 2050 Vision project has been a collaborative effort with the three partners and input from a range of public, private and third sector contributors from Reading and beyond. Over the last four years we have hosted a series of workshops, exhibitions and consultations with a wide cross section of stakeholder groups to help shape the vision, which seeks to create a smart and sustainable long-term future for Reading and its current and future residents.

Three core themes, underpinned by Reading’s existing strengths and natural assets, emerged during the consultation process as the embodiment of a smart and sustainable Reading in 2050:

  • Green Tech City - building on Reading’s established technological business base to ensure Reading performs strongly in a globally competitive economy.
  • A City of Rivers and Parks - embracing Reading’s waterways and green spaces to improve the quality of life and providing a vital lung for the city
  • A City of Culture and Diversity - Reading’s rich heritage and strong cultural base becomes a fundamental part of the city’s make-up. Reading in 2050 is a cultural destination in its own right as well as providing a great lifestyle for our current and future communities.
    (Visulisations for each of these themes are represented in the gallery below.)

Kim Cohen, Partner at Barton Willmore who led our talented designers and architects in creating the vision, said: “The Vision for Reading 2050 and the shaping of the City has been driven by more than 21,000 members of the thriving local and business community who live, work and play here. They have shared their ideas of how Reading can have a real sense of place and identity that is culturally diverse, supports green tech and celebrates its array of watercourses and open space. It’s fantastic to secure such high levels of engagement from the community who have become really enthused about what Reading could look like if we are ambitious and collaborate.”

Above - the interactive PDF of the Reading 2050 Vision in use!

The Reading 2050 Vision is an interactive experience; a dedicated website allows you to step into the future with three animations showing how Reading could develop between 2017 and 2050.

The three short films also show how the core Vision themes could be employed to shape the future development of Reading in three representative neighbourhoods. The animations are designed to provoke ideas and discussion rather than offer a prescriptive vision of the future of each specific neighbourhood. Pavement vinyls on Christchurch Bridge, Oxford Road/IDR bridge and Station Hill provide an opportunity to compare the Reading of today with its potential development by 2050, encouraging the community to get involved and be inspired.

The publication of the Reading 2050 Vision is only the start of a process. To realise this vision we need to maintain momentum, secure cross-organisational collaboration, tell the world about our ambitions for Reading and invite people wherever they are to get involved. 

The interactive digital Reading 2050 Vision is available at . Get involved at or via Twitter at #Reading2050.

Supporting the launch of the Vision, The University of Reading’s Reading 2050 public lecture series gets underway on 19 October – see

Posted with the following keywords:
Reading 2050, Reading UK, University of Reading, architecture, planning, landscape

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