Mar 202 min read

Redefining Urban Design: 15-Minute Cities

written by

Team Kaarwan

The theories, ideas, and practices regarding the planning and development of urban areas have often been debated about their application, resultant place qualities, and overall contribution to the quality of human life and environmental well-being. One such idea being currently discussed, particularly in the post-novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic context, is the ‘15-minute city’ concept.

It was first presented by Franco-Colombian scientist Carlos Moreno and envisioned a more decentralized city. The city is not divided into shopping, residential, or business districts, but into networks of self-sufficient neighborhoods wherein individuals can feel connected and catered for. The concept propagates access to goods and services, smaller-scale offices, retail and hospitality, co-working, and open green spaces.

Source: World Economic Forum

1. An innovative planning idea aimed at establishing hyper-proximity infrastructure.

The 15-minute city concept was envisioned to tackle minimizing the car hegemony and optimizing maximum pedestrian/ bike traffic.  

Source: dutpartnership.eu

2. Accessibility at the forefront

The city concept was put forward so as to facilitate citizens to access their daily necessities by foot or by bike within 15min radius, creating sustainable human-centric urban environments.  

Source: blog.ptvgroup.com

3. Iterations of the neighborhoods’ units

Inspired by the neighborhood units concepts by noted urban planner Clarence Perry during the 1920’s the idea is an example of urban cells, with similarities to 20 and 30-minute neighborhoods  

Source: Bee Smart City

4. Building cities that are decentralized, human-friendly and time-sensitive

15-minute cities give rise to resilient, multipurpose neighborhoods that are decentralized, and also focus majorly on community endorsement and encourage significant place-making.  

Source: 15minutecity.com

5. Proximity, diversity, density, and ubiquity

As an example, to follow, the la Ville Du Quart d’Heure was launched by Parisian mayor Anna Hidalgo with the vision to decarbonize the city’s economy based on the four pillars of planning.  

Source: Architonic, Image via Paris En Common

6. Efficient local governance in the larger scheme of things

Ease of access, hyper proximity, and pedestrianization at the best 15-minute cities encourage ease of governance and facilitation of public services and resources in the larger picture.

Source: lovethatdesign.com

An example in the Indian context: The walled city of Jaipur would be a great example of the 15-minute city concept where essential services and recreational facilities are accessible within 15 minutes of housing.  

Want to learn more about planning at an urban level? Join our one-day masterclass on Landscape Design!

Team Kaarwan

Team Kaarwan

Since graduating from IIT Roorkee, we've been on a mission to democratize education through affordable online and offline workshops and courses. These equip students with architecture industry-relevant skills, boosting their employability across the Indian subcontinent.