Bringing the 15-minute city to life

An accessible, sustainable, multi-centred approach

The 15-minute city would do more than reduce carbon emissions—it would increase our quality of life.

As the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic recedes and Canadians become more comfortable returning to activities, it’s a good time to reconsider what we want that to look like—and which pandemic-era changes we want to keep.

Foremost among those changes should be the remote work environment. Many employers and employees see the value in allowing remote work arrangements to continue, either entirely or within a hybrid workplace model. And with a tight labour market, this can help set organizations apart from their competition.

Such a shift would not just change the workplace. It would change the places we need to go day to day, which would change how we move around. Imagine if critical goods and services—all the basic services for living as well as working—were no more than a 15-minute walk or bike ride away from every resident.

Planners call this the 15-minute city, and it was recently the subject of a recent discussion at the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. From that session, three fundamental considerations emerged about what it might take to become one:

  1. Consider land use and transportation in tandem
  2. Solve the last-mile problem collaboratively
  3. Keep people at the centre

The 15-minute city would also reduce carbon emissions and, through densification, help alleviate some of the pressing housing challenges faced in so many Canadian cities. Through collaboration and partnership between the public and private sectors, with people at the centre of every strategy and service, we can improve mobility in our cities, bolster access to services and opportunity, enrich our quality of life, and make this resilient and sustainable dream our reality.

For more, read Bringing the 15-minute city to life.

Bringing the 15-minute city to life
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