The list comprises teams led by Leit-Werk, Asemblage, and OC Architects, all from London, plus Hulme Upright Manning from Stoke, and Jan Gehl and Glenn Howells Architects.
The six designs were whittled down from a long list and were judged by a panel chaired by former CABE commissioner Les Sparks, and which included designer Wayne Hemingway, Marcus Lee of FLACQ, Stoke Mayor Mark Meredith and two local councillors.
Sparks said of the competition entries: 'Competitors evidently found this to be a challenging assignment.
'However, we are confident that our six shortlisted teams will generate exciting new ideas to make the streets and squares of this historic city extremely attractive to residents, visitors and investors.'
The teams will present their stage-two proposals for public consultation at the beginning of April and then to the judges at a final assessment on 24 April.