UK’s Top Desirable Green Places to Live

Patrick Chambers
2 min read

The university city Cambridge has earned a significant accolade: the top ranking on BNP Paribas Real Estate’s proprietary location analysis model, Next X. 


Next X is a unique digital tool which provides real estate decision-makers with fresh, optimised perspectives on which are the best UK locations to invest, relocate and expand into. Next X facilitates users’ understanding and analysis of the UK’s various locations through an extensive range of metrics (30 were added in the latest update this year) and 5,700 data points. 


The first is New Skills and Transition. This pillar studies university and student data to try to ascertain where the workforce of the future will be based. Business funding and startup survival rates are also taken into account so that an area’s ability to withstand economic and technological advance can be understood.The second is Health and Wellbeing. This is analysed by tracking data points such as the methods residents use to commute and CO2 levels. Third is titled Real Estate and Infrastructure 2.0 and hones in on how well positioned a location is for: the transition to 5G, electric cars and building digital connectivity. The last pillar is Community and it attempts to weigh up the social benefits of living in a certain location by analysing metrics such as the number of independent shops and niche retail offerings.


Cambridge ranked first for a number of reasons. First, it has the highest level of bicycle parking available, at 220 spaces per 10,000 people. There is also the fact that three times the number of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles are in use compared to four years ago. Cambridge performed extremely well in terms of innovation. The city owes this to its 152-acre science park, which houses many world-leading pioneers in science and technology, including Owlstone Medical are developing breathalyser for disease, which aims to detect cancer, inflammatory and infectious diseases earlier than ever before. FTSE 100 biotechnology giant AstraZeneca and leading financial crime prevention company Featurespace. Nearby the city’s science park in Sawston, Huawei are building a £1bn research and development centre and ARM Holdings, Britain’s semiconductor trailblazer, have their offices, spread across four buildings. It is unsurprising that the city performed well on the Next X metric which analyses the number of patent application submissions. 


ARM Holdings Offices. Image: Hundven Clements Photography


Cambridge is indeed no stranger to these sorts of accolades. In 2019, Savills Investment Management ranked the city as Europe’s third most dynamic, including first place for inclusion, second for inspiration and innovation along with fifth for infrastructure. Furthermore, City Benchmarking Data ranked the city first for startups per capita in 2018 as well as third for number of patents per capita in Europe. 


Cambridge is moving forward in leaps and bounds, leaving behind the rest of the UK other than London. 

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