Around the world, there is growing interest in creating places in which most people’s daily needs can be met within a short walk or cycle.
The benefits of this approach are multiple: people become more active, improving their mental and physical health; traffic is reduced, and air quality is improved; local shops and businesses thrive; and people see more of their neighbours, strengthening community bonds.
The idea of ’20 minute neighbourhoods’ – sometimes called by other names, such as ’15 minute cities’ – has been gaining momentum for several years and is already being implemented in places such as Melbourne and Paris. Interest in the idea has grown as the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns put a spotlight on the importance of the liveability of neighbourhoods, with people spending more time locally, working at home if possible, using public green space, cycling and walking instead of using cars and connecting with neighbours.
The Town and Country Planning Association is working in coalition with a range of partners to learn from places abroad that have already implemented 20-minute neighbourhoods, and working with partners including Sport England, Sustrans, the Design Council, Fields in Trust, CLES and others to create resources, guides and webinars to help councils and communities introduce 20-minute neighbourhoods to their area.
20-minute neighbourhoods or ‘complete, compact and connected’ places create the conditions for people to live healthier, more active lives.
This webinar – the fourth in a series of TCPA webinars about 20-minute neighbourhoods – explored how better connections across and between neighbourhoods can be achieved in different types of places, including traditional settlements that were designed for walking but have become car-dominated, and post-war developments that were designed in an era when it was assumed that car-ownership would be universal.
Improving the physical infrastructure of streets and increasing their connectivity is however only part of what needs to be done to encourage people to choose active travel.
In addition, people need the confidence to know that they have the ability to reach their destination safely and on time; and need support and encouragement to change deeply ingrained habits such as driving to the local shops or school.
Watch the TCPA Webinar.
Creating Healthier, Active, Prosperous Communities - Download the guide to 20-minute neighbourhoods