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Smart Cities Marketplace
13 January 2023

Proximity for all: implementing inclusive ±15-Minute City concepts

Aerial visual of Munich

Researchers from Munich shed new light on the accessibility and inclusion debate in urban mobility. Taking Carlos Moreno’s 15-Minute City concept as a starting point, nurtured by the latest insights from recent experiments, the scientists developed a practitioner’s roadmap highlighting concrete steps to plan, develop and implement the +-15-Minute City not only in a few neighbourhoods, but for all citizens, in any city.

The 15-Minute City’s primary objective is to give people access to basic essentials (e.g. schools, shops, sport facilities, etc.) within 15-minute walking or cycling distance. It revolves around four dimensions: proximity, to reduce distances to destination; diversity of land use and people to make all relevant destinations more easily reachable; density to ensure a minimum customer pool for local businesses; and ubiquity so that the 15-Minute City is available and affordable for all citizens.

Planning principles putting accessibility at their core are not new and have been variously conceptualised over the past decades. In fact, the 15-Minute City can be considered as part of a broader movement that started with the Garden City and includes the Neighbourhood Unit, Transit Oriented Development, or Chronourbanism. All these models offer alternatives to car-centred urban and mobility planning practices.

It is worth noting that many cities have stated – more or less formally – their ambition to develop 10-, 15-, and 20-minutes cities or neighbourhoods. To account for this diversity, the authors of the TUM study coined the expression “±15-Minute City.“ In the wake of the COVID-19-pandemic and with Paris as a leading example, Europe has become the hotbed for new ±15-Minute Cities with cities like Rome, Dublin, and Utrecht. In total, 16 cities worldwide have adopted or are in the process of officially adopting a ±15-Minute City strategy.