We undertook a study with Weston Williamson + Partners to explore the potential for an airport city development on land surrounding Birmingham International Airport. We considered the benefits HS2 and its quick links to London would have on the airport. We developed proposals for the creation of a new multi-modal transport hub that would combine the airport with the new HS2 and the NEC providing seamless connectivity between air, road, rail and business links.
Our design ambition was to create a carbon neutral airport, an aerotropolis development and low CO2 emissions zone. Building on the Midlands rich heritage of engineering, science and technology and the success of the Birmingham Business Park and Jaguar Land Rover, the aerotropolis would include a manufacturing campus with connections to the logistics terminal, a university campus and mixed-use residential schemes creating new jobs and homes.
The airport site is complex, surrounded by green belt and divided into parcels of land by road and rail infrastructure. We looked at ways to address the severance this creates and provide connectivity across the site. Our vision was for a new metropolitan district - high quality urban realm, with a commercial core and mixed use residential development, served by new metro and BRT connectivity to Birmingham and the surrounding communities. Our masterplan proposals were based on green city design principles to create an ultra-sustainable development. The surrounding green belt was extended into the heart of the site and the existing lake would have been enlarged to increase biodiversity and enhance the environment. At its centre was a compact, walkable, pedestrian-oriented development, reducing the dependency on driving and the carbon footprint for residents. Private cars were to be restricted from entering the centre of the aerotropolis development; while new cycle and pedestrian routes would be routed through green corridors connecting local communities to the transport infrastructure.