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Urban development

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Atkins is a major force in urban development. We design cities throughout the world, delivering sustainable solutions to best meet the needs of modern populations.

About

As Europe’s largest multidisciplinary consultancy, Atkins is uniquely positioned to add value to every part of urban development and urban regeneration.

Masterplanning and project management

Our work includes projects in transport, energy, water and environment, building design, industry, communications, masterplanning and project management, health and education infrastructure. For every project, we have experts with insight and sensitivity to local community issues, the political and socio-economic climate and the imperative of providing urban development that makes a lasting legacy for future generations.

Urban development partnerships

We work in close partnership with local government organisations, developers and local communities to plan, design and enable projects that add value for all stakeholders. Our clients range from large public sector organisations and private/public partnerships to multinational corporations, as well as individual private developers such as those in the Middle East region.

FEATURES

Expertise

Urban development consists of many different specialists coming together with one common goal – the development of inspiring and sustainable cities.

Some of our specialist areas of expertise in this sector include:

Masterplanning

Our masterplanners’ emphasis is on design excellence, supported by a breadth of multidisciplinary skills and technical expertise at every stage of the process.

For more information on our masterplanning expertise, download our brochure

Landscape design

Atkins’ landscape designers have a flair for creating imaginative and memorable spaces, blending the technical demands of a brief with the natural constraints of location.

Transport planning

The transport system is an integral component of any modern development plan. If planned effectively, the transport system can make a major contribution towards the overall success of a development by providing efficient connections to existing neighbouring areas and helping to create a high quality environment within the development site itself.

Local development frameworks

Atkins has a strong track record of working with local authorities. We work by fostering excellent relationships with our clients and ensure we have a detailed understanding of our clients’ wider objectives, an in-depth understanding of key technical issues, and that we apply leading-edge thinking.

Public realm design

Atkins is passionate about creating innovative, elegant and practical solutions for all facets of public realm design. These solutions are informed by historic context and character to bring about a strong sense of identity and place.

Sustainability and environmental consultancy

We provide a comprehensive range of services to help public and private sector organisations characterise, assess, quantify and manage their relationship with the natural environment. We aim to respond to the environmental, social and resource challenges facing us today and into the future, as well as to prepare for a changing climate.

Infrastructure engineering

Infrastructure, utility services and enabling works are required for all successful developments. Atkins provides strategic planning, design, project management and procurement support for infrastructure works on developments both on land and at sea.

International planning

Our key services are:

  • Tourism masterplanning and resort development
  • Integrated township development
  • Industrial planning
  • Mixed-use masterplanning
  • Strategic planning and policy advisory
  • Infrastructure planning

Angles

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Jonathan Spear
14 Feb 2017

Transport planners in cities around the world – after decades of neglect – are now acknowledging the functionality of walking and cycling, in particular for short local trips and as ‘first and last mile’ connections to public transport. But another mode of urban mobility is emerging which could add to the mix of options and prove a game changer. The new mode is known by some as Personal Mobility Devices, or PMDs. These are generally lightweight motorised vehicles powered by small electric motors to increase travel speed and distance of individual users without major exertion. PMDs come at a time when infrastructure investment and targeted marketing campaigns have helped grow take up of active travel modes which are increasingly recognised in terms of value and benefits to public realm and health. The term embraces a plethora of new consumer products such as e-scooters, hoverboards, electric monowheels and mini segways. New devices continue to be developed and are falling in price to levels well within the reach of those on middle incomes. In most cities to date PMDs have mostly been used for leisure purposes. Some of us have given them to our children as playthings and we are increasingly seeing young people riding them in parks and on footpaths for recreation. Because they have a largely niche application and due to the lack of a clear legal definition they have largely escaped the serious scrutiny of transport planning professionals and not received much consideration as part of the accepted hierarchy of transport

Asia Pacific ,

Mike McNicholas
01 Feb 2017

The more I think about it though, the more I’m interested in the unanswered question for our industry – what impact can designers and engineers make on building a better city for all?  To make this a city that truly benefits everyone, we need to focus the planning, design and delivery of our infrastructure on outcomes. This means recognising that infrastructure is a means to an end - an enabler of everyday life - and is there to make a positive impact on people’s lives. We can no longer deliver just another new building or road. From the earliest stages of planning, we need to be thinking about how our infrastructure can create better results for every Londoner. ‘A City For All Londoners’ talks about ensuring planning isn’t myopically focused on one amenity without seeing the big picture – the only way we can do this is by being clear at the outset what outcomes we want to see at the end of a project, and planning our infrastructure so that we achieve all of those outcomes.  For me, excellent infrastructure delivery isn’t just about completing a project on time and on budget – it’s about doing it right, doing it once and doing it smarter. We can’t do this in today’s world without a clear understanding of outcomes. For design and engineering consultancies, this means more collaboration, efficiency and disruptive thinking, and delivering on our promises. It means outcome focused delivery, enabled by technology and data. If we do this in

UK & Europe ,

Roddy Adams
27 Jan 2017

The recent US presidential election is a case in point where the incoming POTUS has had a national infrastructure plan as a central plank in his campaign. President Trump’s commitment to infrastructure was cemented in his inauguration speech when he stated that America’s infrastructure had fallen into disrepair and decay promising that “we will bring new roads and high roads and bridges and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation”. So what do we know of this new plan to boost infrastructure spending? The plan is being drawn up by billionaire Wilbur Ross and university professor Peter Navarro and their proposal is to stimulate $1 trillion in capital expenditure over 10 years, and as part of this the Government should hand out $137 billion worth of tax credits to the private sector. The federal tax credit would leverage a flood of private money covering 82% of the equity needed for new projects argue Ross and Navarro and they say the tax credits would cost the Government nothing because of increased tax revenue from new private spending, economic activity and employment. There are however critics coming forward to point out that this will only work for well-conceived projects with clearly identifiable revenue streams – which would be funded in any event by the market, so why give tax credits away? The proposals appear to be solely weighted to the investor and contractor side of the industry. They do not address the single biggest impediment on projects coming to market – affordability. States and municipalities

Group , North America , Asia Pacific ,

Paul Reynolds
13 Jan 2017

The reason is that public land is increasingly being seen as the panacea to our housing crisis. On the surface it is a win/win situation - cash-strapped public bodies and local authorities can monetise underused or surplus land assets, while the development market gets to pick up sites in often prime areas. However, there is the small issue of ‘best value’. This underpins any transaction involving public land, and while government guidance sets out a number of factors that need to be considered when evaluating if best value is being achieved, nine times out of 10 when it is applied to land transactions it is read as shorthand for top price. In recent years, many public bodies have had their government funding drastically reduced or cut altogether, and pressure has been placed on those with significant landholdings to look long and hard at how they can be monetised. In many cases, the best solution may be to retain the land and redevelop it, providing a long-term revenue stream. However, this is often not viable as they don’t have the capital funding or in-house expertise to undertake the redevelopment, and while some may partner with the private sector to do this, others look to sell the land instead. Financial & non-financial downsides The downsides to this are twofold. Firstly, it encourages over-development of sites. Potential purchasers will look to squeeze as much out of the sites as possible in order to realise the highest financial returns. Secondly, it often means that social value is ignored. The non-monetary benefits

UK & Europe ,

Projects

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To prepare for the 2014 Youth Olympics, the Nanjing City called for an International Design Competition to revitalize a scenic waterfront and green belt zone along the Yangtze River. Atkins was awarded the first prize. The challenge of the project was finding a resilient solution to integrate the individual lots, open space and landscape features which stretched along the river for 30 km and covered 11 hectares of land into one comprehensive piece. Atkins’ proposal provokes innovative waterfront planning strategies to reclaim the lost space and provide diverse recreational opportunities. In line with the requirements of the 2014 Youth Olympics and new developments along the south shore of Nanjing, an iconic area in Nanjing’s riverfront comprising and consolidating recreation, tourism, ecology, transit and culture regimens will be completed in the near future.

China ,

The IMX project site lies within the world-class Hongqiao Transportation Hub, which connects the airport, high speed rail and Shanghai public transit system. The winning Atkins concept architecturally expresses international trade and creates places and spaces where people exchange goods and ideas, thus creating optimal opportunities for the IMX brand to create wealth. The contract will also see Atkins develop its iconic architectural designs for the IMX exhibition centre and supporting commercial development covering approximately 150,000 square metres. All buildings within the Atkins masterplan have been designed to meet or exceed China’s three-star Green Building Standard.

China ,

The Wessal Bouregreg project is a visionary scheme to transform the cultural and social landscape of Morocco’s capital, Rabat. We designed the masterplan for this inner city site, as well as two of its most iconic buildings - the Library of National Archives of the Kingdom of Morocco, and the House of Arts and Culture - for Wessal Capital, an investment fund for tourism and real estate projects in the Kingdom of Morocco. The masterplan will create a new national cultural hub for Morocco, and will enhance Rabat’s position on the world stage as a destination to enjoy internationally important historic archives as well as new arts and cultural offerings. The inspiration for the scheme began with an investigation into the rich cultural history of Morocco and its unique historic development of mathematical
With storm and flood damage creating chaos and headline news across the UK, it is crucial that we not only repair the damage, but protect ourselves against future occurrences. Atkins has been appointed to design a replacement for the 30 year old sea wall in Morecambe. The wall will be constructed in three stages, with the first part currently under way.  The project compromises a new one metre high wall, over 1.8 kilometres in length and once complete it will protect 13,000 properties in this Lancashire coastal resort. The wall will feature motifs reflecting local personalities, stories and references to flora and fauna. It has been designed to be robust as well as being beautiful in design and has been sloped back on the seaward side to give the impression of a wider promenade space. New surfacing, lighting and furniture will also enhance the promenade for residents, visitors and all users of this high profile seafront commission. 

UK ,

The Le Tour Way development in York provides large and spacious sustainable homes split 50/50 for council houses and homes for sale on the private market. We  designed the properties in response to feedback from residents on previous schemes, and all of the homes are built to ‘Lifetime Homes’ standards, which allows residents to stay in their homes longer and make adaptations at lower cost. Low water fittings and appliances, as well as rainwater collection for irrigation and flushing of WCs, help to minimise water use. Each home and apartment has individual facilities for recycling. As a result of the integrated design approach, the properties are inexpensive to run whilst minimising the impact on the environment. The design of the development strived to achieve ‘Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4’, meaning energy use was minimised through passive design before incorporating low and zero carbon technologies.   We provided multidiscipline services for the development, including architecture, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering, landscaping, masterplanning, project management and code for sustainable homes assessment.

UK ,

The primary tools for controlling and treating stormwater are referred to as stormwater best management practices (BMPs). BMPs include features such as detention ponds, rain gardens, and swales, which slow and treat stormwater as it moves through the system, helping to reduce flood risk during storms and also improve water quality. To help the city decide where BMPs should be placed for the best results, Atkins worked with Bonita Springs to develop the BMP Assessment Tool (BAT). The tool allows the city to simulate various scenarios for placing BMPs throughout the stormwater drainage system. Using a rainfall/runoff algorithm, the tool estimates pollutant loads across the network for each scenario, supporting informed decision-making on which BMPs to implement and where to place them. A challenge in evaluating pollutant levels is estimating the amount of directly connected impervious areas (DCIA) in a community. These areas include buildings, driveways, parking lots, and roads that contribute to high concentrations of pollution. Traditionally, the way to accurately estimate DCIA is to use aerial imagery—an expensive and labor-intensive process many communities cannot afford. The BAT uses a new process of “virtualizing” DCIA by interpreting available road and parcel databases to simulate its likely location, producing a more accurate (and less costly) estimate of DCIA than traditional land use-based methods. By creating what-if scenarios, based on existing conditions and proposed BMP plans, the city was able to reach consensus on their citywide BMP plan. The plan includes a new multi-million dollar park project, which will improve recreation

USA , North America ,

The Rocky Mountain Greenway connects three Denver metro area National Wildlife Refuges with a continuous trail system between the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Two Ponds, and Rocky Flats in the northwest Denver metro area. The project is part of a larger vision, the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, which seeks to reconnect Americans with the country’s natural resources. The Rocky Mountain Greenway was first announced in 2011 by Colorado Governor Hickenlooper and then‐Interior Secretary Salazar to close gaps in existing trail networks and develop new trails. To support this project, Atkins coordinated across numerous jurisdictions and agencies. We completed feasibility studies to identify the best options to connect the wildlife refuges and extend Denver’s existing greenway trail network and prepared preliminary cost estimates to aid in prioritizing projects and developing improvement packages. Atkins also provided final design and completed National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements for the seven-mile portion of trail spanning Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge in Arvada and the Great Western Open Space in Broomfield.  The trail system is expected to extend to Rocky Mountain National Park in the future, creating an 80-mile long continuous route. The completed trail network would link thousands of acres of public lands together, connecting metropolitan residents to the vast natural areas surrounding them—passing through more than 10 municipalities, six counties, and four federal land areas. A grand opening ceremony for the completion of the continuous 25‐mile stretch between the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge and the southeastern portion of Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge took

USA , North America ,

This two-berth cruise terminal on the north coast of the Dominican Republic is capable of accommodating up to two post-Panamax cruise vessels, which translates to roughly 10,000 visitors a day. Carnival Corporation estimates eight of its brands will make 140 calls on the port, with 23 ships throughout its first year of operation. In addition to planning, landscape design, architecture, and engineering services for Amber Cove’s structures and amenities, we also designed roadways and the transportation hub that helps visitors take onshore excursions and explore outlying points of interest. The development also includes hillside waterslides overlooking the 5-acre pool/lazy river recreation area, a zipline, a series of shops and restaurants, a destination duty-free shop, and a hilltop food and beverage establishment with a 360-degree ramp access from below. Echoing the culture and existing architecture in the area, we incorporated modern interpretations of historical periods of significance for the Puerto Plata province. Visitors perusing the 25-acre waterfront development will enjoy an architectural nod to the fortified 16th century, classical-colonial 18th century, and Victorian late 19th century in 25 buildings and multiple landscapes. Atkins also incorporated features that promote self-sufficiency and sustainability including rooftop rainwater harvesting, seawater desalination, a wastewater treatment plant to minimize environmental impacts, and backup generators to ensure uninterrupted utility service.

Dominican Republic , North America ,

Products

READY TO DIG

Ready to dig  

Atkins is the UK’s leading provider of utility reports. We also provide a wide range of utility management services across the lifecycle of a project.
www.utilitymanagementsolutions.co.uk/readytodig/

Resources

In this section you can find technical papers and thought leadership articles produced by Atkins for the urban development sector.

Title Format Size
Carbon Critical Masterplanning pdf 256KB

In this section you can find thought leadership articles produced by Atkins for the urban development sector.

Title Format Size
Future Proofing Cities brochure pdf 7.4MB
Living Space: Tomorrow's City pdf 2.7MB

Locations

For more information on our work and experience in this sector please contact:

UK and International

Richard Alvey
International cities director
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 20 7121 2264
Email 

 

North America

United States of America
Tel: +1 800 477 7275
Email

Careers

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