Reading is a town with a rich history, which has thrived throughout the early twenty-first century and has the potential to deliver so much more for its residents, businesses and visitors. The founding partners of Reading UK 2050, Reading UK CIC, Barton Willmore and the University of Reading, share a passion for Reading and we believe that by working with Reading’s many stakeholders to create a shared vision, Reading will be better equipped to become a smarter and more sustainable place in which to work, live and play.
In 2015, Reading can rightly claim to be one of the UK and Europe’s leading economies. Having weathered the recession well, Reading is currently enjoying an almost unprecedented wave of investment. However, the world changes rapidly and success cannot be taken for granted. Even as we publish this document there are sections of Reading’s population who are still not benefitting from this economic vibrancy.
We believe that the time is right to refresh and reframe the debate about Reading’s future development, to reassess where we are going and ensure that we create a vision and plan for Reading which presents realistic, exciting, smart and sustainable solutions. We don’t know what the world will be like in 35 years’ time but we do know that to ensure growth and prosperity for everyone in Reading, we need to think strategically and plan, long-term.
This report is the culmination of a project which began in June 2013 with a meeting of Reading’s young property professionals to discuss Reading’s potential from a private sector perspective. Along the way, we have garnered support and engaged stakeholders from across the private, charity and public sector. In one sense, this report is just the beginning. Having done the initial feasibility work for a Vision, we are now actively seeking input to develop the framework into something that will help us build on Reading’s strengths, grow the economy, share the benefits and deliver a legacy of a truly smart and sustainable city in 2050.