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Large town in south central England founded in 1967
Milton Keynes has one of the more successful economies in the UK, ranked highly on a number of criteria.
Birth of a "New City"
It may startle some political economists to talk of commencing the building of new cities ... planned as cities fro their first foundation, and not mere small towns and villages. ... A time will arrive when something of this sort must be done ... England cannot escape from the alternative of new city building.
The Corporation's strongly modernist designs were regularly featured in the magazines Architectural Design and the Architects' Journal. MKDC was determined to learn from the mistakes made in the earlier New Towns, and revisit the Garden City ideals. They set in place the characteristic grid roads that run between districts ('grid squares'), as well as the intensive planting, lakes and parkland that are so evident today. While still on the drawing board, planners noticed that the main streets near the proposed city centre would almost frame the rising sun on Midsummer's Day. Greenwich Observatory was consulted to obtain the exact angle required at the latitude of Central Milton Keynes,[c] and they managed to persuade the engineers to shift the grid of roads a few degrees in response.CMK was not intended to be a traditional town centre but a central business and shopping district to supplement Local Centres in most of the grid squares. This non-hierarchical devolved city plan was a departure from the English New Towns tradition and envisaged a wide range of industry and diversity of housing styles and tenures across the city. The largest and almost the last of the British New Towns, Milton Keynes has 'stood the test of time far better than most, and has proved flexible and adaptable'. The radical grid plan was inspired by the work of Californian urban theorist Melvin M. Webber, described by the founding architect of Milton Keynes, Derek Walker, as the "father of the city". Webber thought that telecommunications meant that the old idea of a city as a concentric cluster was out of date and that cities which enabled people to travel around them readily would be the thing of the future achieving "community without propinquity" for residents.
The Government wound up MKDC in 1992, 25 years after the new town was founded, transferring control to the Commission for New Towns (CNT) and then finally to English Partnerships, with the planning function returning to local council control (since 1974 and the Local Government Act 1972, the Borough of Milton Keynes). From 2004-2011 a Government quango, the Milton Keynes Partnership, had development control powers to accelerate the growth of Milton Keynes.
Along with many other towns and boroughs, Milton Keynes competed (unsuccessfully) for formal city status in the 2000, 2002 and 2012 competitions.
The urban design has not been universally praised, however. In 1980, the then president of the Royal Town Planning Institute, Francis Tibbalds, described Central Milton Keynes as "bland, rigid, sterile, and totally boring."
Grid roads and grid squares
The geography of Milton Keynes – the railway line, Watling Street, Grand Union Canal, M1 motorway – sets up a very strong north-south axis. If you've got to build a city between (them), it is very natural to take a pen and draw the rungs of a ladder. Ten miles by six is the size of this city – 22,000 acres. Do you lay it out like an American city, rigid orthogonal from side to side? Being more sensitive in 1966-7, the designers decided that the grid concept should apply but should be a lazy grid following the flow of land, its valleys, its ebbs and flows. That would be nicer to look at, more economical and efficient to build, and would sit more beautifully as a landscape intervention.
The Milton Keynes Development Corporation planned the major road layout according to street hierarchy principles, using a grid pattern of approximately 1 km (0.62 mi) intervals, rather than on the more conventional radial pattern found in older settlements. Major distributor roads run between communities, rather than through them: these distributor roads are known locally as grid roads and the spaces between them – the districts – are known as grid squares. This spacing was chosen so that people would always be within six minutes walking distance of a grid-road bus-stop. Consequently, each grid square is a semi-autonomous community, making a unique collective of 100 clearly identifiable neighbourhoods within the overall urban environment.[d] The grid squares have a variety of development styles, ranging from conventional urban development and industrial parks to original rural and modern urban and suburban developments. Most grid squares have Local Centres, intended as local retail hubs and many have community facilities as well. Originally intended under the master plan to sit alongside the Grid Roads, the Local Centres were mostly in fact built embedded in the communities.
Although the 1970 Master Plan assumed cross-road junctions,roundabout junctions were built at intersections because this type of junction is more efficient at dealing with small to medium volumes. Some major roads are dual carriageway, the others are single carriageway. Along one side of each single carriageway grid road, there is usually a (grassed) reservation to permit dualling or additional transport infrastructure at a later date.[e] As of 2018[update], this has been limited to some dualling. The edges of each grid square are landscaped and densely planted – some additionally have noise attenuation mounds – to minimise traffic noise from the adjacent grid road. Traffic movements are fast, with relatively little congestion since there are alternative routes to any particular destination other than during peak periods. The national speed limit applies on the grid roads, although lower speed limits have been introduced on some stretches to reduce accident rates. Pedestrians rarely need to cross grid roads at grade, as underpasses and bridges were specified at frequent places along each stretch of all of the grid roads. However, the new districts to be added by the expansion plans for Milton Keynes are departing from this model, with less separation and using 'at grade' crossings. This approach, which contradicts the original design ethos, has been a cause for conflict between residents and the Council who are often regarded as failing to preserve the unique development style of the city.
There is a separate network (approximately 270 kilometres or 170 miles total length) of cycle and pedestrian routes – the redways – that runs through the grid-squares and often runs alongside the grid-road network. This was designed to segregate slow moving cycle and pedestrian traffic from fast moving motor traffic. In practice, it is mainly used for leisure cycling rather than commuting, perhaps because the cycle routes are shared with pedestrians, cross the grid-roads via bridge or underpass rather than at grade, and because some take meandering scenic routes rather than straight lines. It is so called because it is generally surfaced with red tarmac. The national Sustrans national cycle network routes 6 and 51 take advantage of this system.
The Hub:MK, built between 2006 and 2008. The taller glass tower, Manhattan House, has fourteen stories.
The original design guidance declared that commercial building heights in the centre should not exceed six stories, with a limit of three stories for houses (elsewhere),  paraphrased locally as "no building taller than the tallest tree".However, the Milton Keynes Partnership, in its expansion plans for Milton Keynes, believed that Central Milton Keynes (and elsewhere) needed "landmark buildings" and subsequently lifted the height restriction for the area. As a result, high rise buildings have been built in the central business district.[f]
More recent local plans have protected the existing boulevard framework and set higher standards for architectural excellence.[g]
Caldecotte Lake, Milton Keynes
The flood plains of the Great Ouse and of its tributaries (the Ouzel and some brooks) have been protected as linear parks that run right through Milton Keynes; these were identified as important landscape and flood-management assets from the outset. At 1,650 ha (4,100 acres) – a third larger than Richmond Park and ten times larger than London's Hyde Park – the landscape architects realised that the Royal Parks model would not be appropriate or affordable and drew on their National Park experience. As Bendixson and Platt (1992) write: "They divided the Ouzel Valley into 'strings, beads and settings'. The strings are well-maintained routes, be they for walking, bicycling or riding; the beads are sports centres, lakeside cafes and other activity areas; the settings are self-managed land-uses such as woods, riding paddocks, a golf-course[h] and a farm".
The Grand Union Canal is another green route (and demonstrates the level geography of the area – there is just one minor lock in its entire 10-mile (16 km) meandering route through from the southern boundary near Fenny Stratford to the "Iron Trunk" Aqueduct over the Ouse at Wolverton at its northern boundary). The initial park system was planned by landscape architect Peter Youngman, who also developed landscape precepts for all development areas: groups of grid squares were to be planted with different selections of trees and shrubs to give them distinct identities. However, the detailed planning and landscape design of parks and of the grid roads was evolved under the leadership of Neil Higson, who from 1977 took over as Chief Landscape Architect and made the original grand but not entirely practical landscape plan more subtle.
"City in the forest"
The original Development Corporation design concept aimed for a "forest city" and its foresters planted millions of trees from its own nursery in Newlands in the following years. As of 2018[update], the urban area has 22 million trees and shrubs. Following the winding up of the Development Corporation, the lavish landscapes of the Grid Roads and of the major parks were transferred to The Milton Keynes Parks Trust, a charity which is independent from the municipal authority and which was intended to resist pressures to build on the parks over time. The Parks Trust is endowed with a portfolio of commercial properties, the income of which pay for the upkeep of the green spaces.
The municipal public art gallery, MK Gallery presents free exhibitions of international contemporary art.
The adjacent 1,400 seat Milton Keynes Theatre opened in 1999. The theatre has an unusual feature: the ceiling can be lowered closing off the third tier (gallery) to create a more intimate space for smaller-scale productions. There is a further professional performance space in Stantonbury.
Milton Keynes Arts Centre offers a year-round exhibitions, family workshops and courses. Situated in of Linford Manor's exterior buildings, barns, Almshouses, Pavilions), the Arts Centre offers an historical setting.
The Westbury Arts Centre in Shenley Wood is based in a 16th-century grade II listed Farmhouse building. Westbury Arts has been providing spaces for professional working artists to create work since 1994. The oldest part of the house was built in the sixteenth century and has been greatly extended over the years. It
Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre at Bradwell Abbey holds an extensive archive about the planning and development of Milton Keynes and has an associated research library. The Centre also offers an education programme (with a focus on urban geography and local history) to schools, universities and professionals.
Milton Keynes has consistently benefited from above-average economic growth, ranked as one of the UK's five fastest growing. It is ranked fifth in the UK for business startups (per 10,000 population)
Milton Keynes Village is the original village to which the New Town owes its name. The original village is still evident, with a pleasant thatchedpub, village hall, church and traditional housing. The area around the village has reverted to its 11th century name of Middleton(Middeltone). The oldest surviving domestic building in the area (c. 1300 CE), "perhaps the manor house", is here.
Milton Keynes is one of the most successful economies in the UK, ranked third (by gross value added per worker) for its contribution to the national economy.
With 99.4% SMEs, just 0.6% of businesses locally employ more than 250 people. Of the remaining enterprises, 81.5% employ fewer than 10 people. The 'professional, scientific and technical sector' contributes the largest number of business units, 16.7%. The retail sector is the largest contributor of employment. Milton Keynes has one of the highest business start-ups in England Although Education, Health and Public Administration are important contributors to employment, the contribution is significantly less than in England or the South East as a whole.
The population is significantly younger than is typical for the UK's 63 primary urban areas: 25.3% of the Borough population is aged under 18 (5th place) and 13.4% are aged 65+ (57th out of 63). Contributing to its vitality, 18.5% of residents were born outside the UK (11th).
Many long-distance coaches stop at the Milton Keynes coachway, (beside M1 Junction 14), some 3.3 miles (5.3 km) from the centre (or 4 mi or 6.4 km from Milton Keynes Central railway station). There is also a park and ride car park on the site. Regional coaches stop at Milton Keynes Central.
Milton Keynes experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classificationCfb) as is typical of almost all of the United Kingdom. Recorded temperature extremes range from 34.6 °C (94.3 °F) during July 2006, to as low as -20.6 °C (-5.1 °F) on 20 December 2010. on 25 February 1947. In 2010, the temperature fell to -16.3 °C (2.7 °F)
The nearest Met Office weather station is in Woburn, located in a rural area just outside the south eastern fringe of Milton Keynes.
Climate data for Woburn 1981-2010 (Weather station 3 mi (5 km) to the SE of Central Milton Keynes)
^The Plan for Milton Keynes begins (in the Foreword by Lord ("Jock") Campbell of Eskan): "This plan for building the new city of Milton Keynes ..."
^As seen uphill along Midsummer Boulevard from Midsummer Roundabout near the Central Station
^Bendixson & Platt (1992) report the Corporation as concerned at this outcome, which was an unplanned emergent behaviour.
^An additional ten-metre wide strip was originally specified to satisfy Buckinghamshire County Council's belief in a future fixed-track public transport system. In 1977 MKDC decided to cease to specify it.
^Large-scale buildings include
Jurys Inn (10 stories)The Pinnacle:MK on Midsummer Boulevard (9 stories) and the
Vizion development on Avebury Boulevard (12 stories).
^ The more recent Network Rail National Centre has been built at the western limit of Silbury Boulevard near the Central station; this building complex occupies a large land area but only rises to the equivalent of six storeys.
^Maslen, T. J. (1843). Suggestions for the improvement of Our Towns and Houses. London: Smith, Elder. (Quoted in Walter L Crease, The search for Environment, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1966, p319).
^ abThe South East Study 1961-1981 HMSO London, 1964: "A big change in the economic balance within the south east is needed to modify the dominance of London and to get a more even distribution of growth". Retrieved 27 November 2006
^Walker, Derek (1982). The Architecture and Planning of Milton Keynes. London: Architectural Press. pp.  , 8. ISBN978-0-85139-735-1. cited in Clapson, Mark (2004). A Social History of Milton Keynes: Middle England/Edge City. London: Frank Cass. pp.  , 40. ISBN978-0-7146-8417-8.
^El-Hamamy, E.; b-Lynch, C. (2005). "A worldwide review of the uses of the uterine compression suture techniques as alternative to hysterectomy in the management of severe post-partum haemorrhage". Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 25 (2): 143-149. doi:10.1080/01443610500040752. PMID15814393.
Erskine, Ralph (2011). Breaking German Naval Enigma on Both Sides of the Atlantic. in Erskine & Smith 2011, pp. 165-83
Erskine, Ralph; Smith, Michael, eds. (2011). The Bletchley Park Codebreakers. Biteback Publishing Ltd. ISBN978-1-84954-078-0. Updated and extended version of Action This Day: From Breaking of the Enigma Code to the Birth of the Modern Computer Bantam Press 2001