In 2016 Carlos Moreno proposed the concept of a 15-min city to combat the dysfunction of living in a city. Rather than long commutes, noisy streets and underutilised spaces, He proposed communities where inhabitants have access to all the services they need to live, learn and thrive within their immediate vicinity, making urban areas adapt to humans, not the other way around.
Cities including Helsinki, London, Melbourne, Paris, Singapore, Sydney and Toronto have embraced the principles of a 20-minute city or neighbourhood. WSP is working with many of these cities to help them realise their vision.
The 2021 COVID-19 pandemic has simply accelerated this – making at once both more attainable and desirable. Under lockdown restrictions, neighbourhoods were the only place to fulfil essential activities, and we discovered simpler pleasures. We began to appreciate suburban space—back gardens with veggie patches and trampolines, coffee from the rediscovered neighbourhood café, walks and cycle rides around the local park became highly satisfying experiences and met our need for social interaction, albeit at a social distance. We realised that technology can facilitate working from home very effectively and productively without the grind of a daily office commute.
In our latest report we take insights from leading global cities, and explore what a Future Ready® 20-min city or neighbourhood could look like in Aotearoa New Zealand.