Get the kids to school, collect a script at the chemist, meet a friend for coffee, pick up groceries within 800 metres ? ….   Searching for a new home ? The ability to work, live and play all within 20 minutes’ reach is the new gold standard desirable lifestyle. Imagine being able to carry out your daily activities within a 20-minute walk from home. All the things you need in a day would be just a short walk away.

In urban planning circles, it’s a concept known as the 20-minute neighbourhood. It seems that in our new “Covid Normal” world, people love the thought that most of the things needed for a good life are within a 20-minute public transport trip, bike ride or walk from home.    Things such as shopping, business services, education, community facilities, recreational and sporting resources, and some jobs.

But this is nothing new…the rise of the 20-minute neighbourhood started long before Covid19. The concept arose from people’s desire to return to living locally and urban planners’ recognition that these neighbourhoods offer high levels of liveability, says UNSW Built Environment Professor Linda Corkery. “The goal of the 20-minute neighbourhood is to make available the essentials of day-to-day life within a convenient walk from home,” she says. “This means having shops and services, schools, public transport, and employment within a 20-minute walk.

“So considering a typical day, I might need to get my kids to school, collect a script at the chemist, meet a friend for coffee, pick up groceries, and ideally that could all be done on foot. “The 20-minute distance stems from what is considered an average walking time for a healthy adult to cover roughly 800m,” she says, “taking into account the general ‘walkability’ of the area.” Creating a city of 20-minute neighbourhoods is a key policy direction of Plan Melbourne 2017-2050. 

With thanks,  Bryce Yardney.   

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