Just 15 minutes. That’s all it would take for you to access essential urban services by walking or biking. Beating the traffic while also getting some exercise? Doesn’t sound too bad.
The 15-Minute City Project is an urban planning design focused on developing access-driven urban transformations to be what we need them to be: effectively implemented, accessible, measurable, and environmentally friendly.
Access is the why we choose to live in a specific city – access to your job, good schools, amenities, culture, shopping, and leisure. A 15-minute city provides this access – no need to fight for a parking spot, wait for an Uber, or run to catch a train. Your essentials are simply less than a 15-minute walk away.
This type of neighborhood is uncommon, especially in the United States. Most of our urban mobility efforts focus on creating faster travel speeds. Getting people from point A to point B quicker. What does this do for our urban landscape? It only spreads our cities out more, keeping road congestion high and our work commutes just as long.
Thankfully, more HOA communities that align with the values of a 15-minute city are being developed every year. In denser cities, these communities are sprawling upwards. Mid and high-rise condos and townhomes can fit comfortably within the circumference of a 15-minute city, allowing residents access to all their essential needs within a few blocks. On the other hand, some larger HOA master-planned communities have begun to incorporate essentials like gas stations, business centers, school systems, golf courses, and more. These communities allow residents to spend less time commuting and spend more time enjoying a well-planned suburban setting.
That is not to say that you will never exit your “designated” 15-minute city. You may be visiting a friend who lives a few cities over or may need to visit your specialist doctor - a 40-minute drive away. It does, however, mean that a trip to the bank, the elementary school, the post office and so much more will not contribute to traffic and rising transport infrastructure costs. Either way, there’s room for HOAs and the 15-minute city to occupy the same space. The boundaries just need to continue being pushed.