The 20-minute neighbourhood

Town and Country Planning Association

The 20-minute neighbourhood

Around the world there is growing interest in creating places in which most of people’s daily needs can be met within a short walk or cycle. The benefits of this approach are multiple: people become more active, improving their mental and physical health; traffic is reduced, and air quality improved; local shops and businesses thrive; and people see more of their neighbours, strengthening community bonds.

The idea of ’20 minute neighbourhoods’ – sometimes called by other names, such as ’15 minute cities’ – has been gaining momentum for several years and is already being implemented in places such as Melbourne and Paris. Interest in the idea has grown as the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns put a spotlight on the importance of the liveability of neighbourhoods, with people spending more time locally, working at home if possible, using public green space, cycling and walking instead of using cars and connecting with neighbours. 

The TCPA is working in coalition with a range of partners to learn from places abroad that have already implemented 20 minute neighbourhoods, looking at how this idea could be introduced here in the context of the English planning system. Working with partners including Sport England, Sustrans, the Design Council, Fields in Trust, CLES and others we are creating resources to help councils and communities that want to introduce 20 minute neighbourhoods to their area.

The first of these resources, a free webinar held in October 2020, can be seen by clicking here.

The idea of the ’20-minute neighbourhood’ (also known as 15-minute cities) has grown with interest around the world, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on the importance of the liveability of where we live.  

Produced in collaboration, an introductory guidance document on the 20-minute neighbourhood is for local planning authorities and outlines a set of principles for success with case studies from across England.

Download the guide here

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