A smart city appearing out of thin air, on the interchange of a high-speed railway line. This is the British government’s latest and most ambitious project to exploit the knock-on effect of the HS2, the super high-speed train project now underway that will connect London with the North of England. Arden Cross is a development planned for the new line’s Interchange Station: a smart city designed according to the latest principles of sustainability and modernity; an urban center capable of attracting businesses, creating jobs and producing innovative ideas for the future.
The British press is already calling it one of the most impressive urban regeneration projects in the West Midlands, and the numbers prove it: Arden Cross is envisioned on a 140- hectare (346-acre) plot of land welcoming up to 3,000 homes, and 560,000 square meters (6 million square feet) will be allocated to commercial spaces. The development will require an investment of £3.2 billion ($4.3 billion dollars), and will be able to boost the regional economic output by £1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) per year by creating as many as 27,000 jobs.
Arden Cross: a new city on London’s doorstep
The future of Arden Cross is deeply tied to the high-speed rail project that is still under construction. The HS2 promises to be a revolutionary infrastructure asset for English mobility because it will connect London and Birmingham with the nearby regions, further contributing to the potential of the nation’s capital, which is increasingly a huge hub for the country’s economy.
Thanks to the HS2 line, the distance between Arden Cross and London can be covered in just 38 minutes. The high-speed line’s incredible offer of sustainable mobility is essential for the success of a smart city project that would otherwise risk remaining a cathedral in the desert.
But instead, according to the Arden Cross Master Plan, the project aims to create a new sustainable destination, smart and highly connected with the rest of the country, able to create job opportunities, training centers for young people and, of course, a high quality of life.
“The Arden Cross masterplan brings together the vision for a sustainable, smart and connected new destination with opportunities for employment, skills, learning and living.
A place unlike any other in the Midlands or the UK, the masterplan will help transform the existing advantages of the UK Central Hub into a world-leading location,” according to the Master Plan.
In addition to the commercial and residential area, the project foresees the creation of an “Innovation District” dedicated to education and training, where the branches of the best British research centers and universities will be located, together with innovative companies interested in developing the relationship with the academic world. In this way, Arden Cross aims to become an innovative spin-off of London itself that the city can access and benefit from.
The transport hub that drives the project
In the intentions of its creators, the strength of Arden Cross is in the HS2 interchange, and the new area will be “wrapped around” high-speed line’s Interchange Station.
The plan calls for the smart city to be equipped with an access to sustainable mobility unique in the UK that will allow it to be connected in a short time with the NEC (the National Exhibition Center of Birmingham), with Birmingham Airport and London. The high-speed line will be integrated with a multi-modal transport network including buses and metro lines, but also bike paths and pedestrian areas. Mobility is therefore the heart of the project, conceived even before the development of building plans. The (not too secret) weapon to transform a smart city into a magnet for companies and investors from all over the world.