auckland-city.png

Walkable cities:
the rise of 
the 20-min neighbourhood

PART 6

A key way to bring the low-traffic neighbourhoods, outlined in The Shared Path research report, to life is by planning the 30-minute city. Risto Jounila, WSP Technical Director – Transport, explores how this can be achieved. 

Whether the goal is a 20-minute city or the recently published 15-minute neighbourhood (in Paris, France), the principle is the same: we give people the ability to meet most of their daily needs within a 20 minute walk from home and reduce their need for a private vehicle.

We know that the design and location of where people live, work and play has a large influence on where they travel. Funders, decision-makers, designers and planners have the ability to either lock people into car dependency or make it easy for them to travel by foot, cycle or public transport.

Earlier this year Hamilton submitted a 20 minute city project in response to the Government’s call for shovel-ready infrastructure projects. If implemented, the 20 minute city concept would put Hamilton at the cutting edge of global research into holistic city planning, providing a living laboratory for social improvement through integration of urban design, environmental sustainability and ‘people-first’ infrastructure. If you haven’t delved into Iain White’s work on this I can highly recommend this as a read.

By: Risto Jounila

In fact, our focus needs to be quite opposite. The city should grow “inside” and increase its central “weight” though densification. And with that I don’t mean new building high-rise blocks which, unless done very well, can be soulless rabbit warrens.  The aim should be more human size, appropriate-for-NZ-densification, which needs to be carefully planned.

This could mean that traditionally lower-socioeconomic areas are prioritised for infrastructure investments and urban densification, which would lift productivity higher and provide equal opportunities for all. 

visual1.png

We need to change the current urban form in Auckland. Currently it’s too sprawled and, despite an increase in brownfield development there are still substantial planned greenfield developments on the outskirts. Widening existing transport corridors, or adding new roads, isn’t the answer, as this promotes private car use. 

Opportunities for change

From a carbon emissions view, we know that households living a conventional low-density, drivable, suburban lifestyle have a higher energy consumption and GHG emissions. According to UC Berkeley research the average carbon footprint of households living in the centre of large, population-dense urban cities is about 50% below average, while households in distant suburbs are up to twice the average: a four-fold difference between lowest- and highest-emissions locations.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Kansas have found that neighborhoods that motivate walking can stave off cognitive decline in older adults.

Getting to zero 

(and other benefits)

neighbourhood.png
visual2.png

Who’s doing it? 

The research found that people can walk either to get somewhere or for leisure and a neighbourhood should cater for both. Neighbourhoods that encourage walking for transport need a destination – shops, restaurants, services such as hairdressers, cinemas, event centres, gyms, parks and public transport to other areas – while those who walk for leisure need things to look at, walking trails and shelter from elements.

Regardless, all pedestrians should feel secure. For older adults this includes things like traffic lights that give ample time to cross, high quality pavements and benches to stop and rest. 

risto.png
logo_white_small.png

Risto Jounila

Technical Director – Transport
Risto Jounila joined WSP’s Auckland transport planning team from Helsinki, Finland, where he was Director of Transport for WSP, and was regularly involved in multi-disciplinary, urban integrated transport projects. He’s passionate about projects that are sustainable and good for the humans, families, communities and businesses that connect in a vibrant and well-functioning city.

icon_mail.png icon_mail.png (copy)

This is a condensed version of our insights. Download the full version with additional research and materials. 

FULL INSIGHTS

gradient.png s_small.png

“We have the ability to either lock people into car dependency
or make it easy for them to travel
by foot, cycle or public transport.”

auckland-city.png

PART 6

Walkable cities:
the rise of 
the 20-min neighbour-hood

A key way to bring the low-traffic neighbourhoods, outlined in The Shared Path research report, to life is by planning the 30-minute city. Risto Jounila, WSP Technical Director – Transport, explores how this can be achieved. 

By: Risto Jounila

Whether the goal is a 20-minute city or the recently published 15-minute neighbourhood (in Paris, France), the principle is the same: we give people the ability to meet most of their daily needs within a 20 minute walk from home and reduce their need for a private vehicle.

We know that the design and location of where people live, work and play has a large influence on where they travel. Funders, decision-makers, designers and planners have the ability to either lock people into car dependency or make it easy for them to travel by foot, cycle or public transport.

gradient.png s_small.png

“We have the ability to either lock people into car dependency
or make it easy for them to travel
by foot, cycle or public transport.”

Earlier this year Hamilton submitted a 20 minute city project in response to the Government’s call for shovel-ready infrastructure projects. If implemented, the 20 minute city concept would put Hamilton at the cutting edge of global research into holistic city planning, providing a living laboratory for social improvement through integration of urban design, environmental sustainability and ‘people-first’ infrastructure. If you haven’t delved into Iain White’s work on this I can highly recommend this as a read.

visual1.png

We need to change the current urban form in Auckland. Currently it’s too sprawled and, despite an increase in brownfield development there are still substantial planned greenfield developments on the outskirts. Widening existing transport corridors, or adding new roads, isn’t the answer, as this promotes private car use. 

Opportunities for change

In fact, our focus needs to be quite opposite. The city should grow “inside” and increase its central “weight” though densification. And with that I don’t mean new building high-rise blocks which, unless done very well, can be soulless rabbit warrens.  The aim should be more human size, appropriate-for-NZ-densification, which needs to be carefully planned.

This could mean that traditionally lower-socioeconomic areas are prioritised for infrastructure investments and urban densification, which would lift productivity higher and provide equal opportunities for all. 

visual2.png

From a carbon emissions view, we know that households living a conventional low-density, drivable, suburban lifestyle have a higher energy consumption and GHG emissions. According to UC Berkeley research the average carbon footprint of households living in the centre of large, population-dense urban cities is about 50% below average, while households in distant suburbs are up to twice the average: a four-fold difference between lowest- and highest-emissions locations.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Kansas have found that neighborhoods that motivate walking can stave off cognitive decline in older adults.

Getting to zero 

(and other benefits)

Who’s doing it? 

The research found that people can walk either to get somewhere or for leisure and a neighbourhood should cater for both. Neighbourhoods that encourage walking for transport need a destination – shops, restaurants, services such as hairdressers, cinemas, event centres, gyms, parks and public transport to other areas – while those who walk for leisure need things to look at, walking trails and shelter from elements.

Regardless, all pedestrians should feel secure. For older adults this includes things like traffic lights that give ample time to cross, high quality pavements and benches to stop and rest. 

This is a condensed version of our insights. Download the full version with additional research and materials. 

FULL INSIGHTS

risto.png

Risto Jounila

Technical Director – Transport
Risto Jounila joined WSP’s Auckland transport planning team from Helsinki, Finland, where he was Director of Transport for WSP, and was regularly involved in multi-disciplinary, urban integrated transport projects. He’s passionate about projects that are sustainable and good for the humans, families, communities and businesses that connect in a vibrant and well-functioning city.

icon_mail.png icon_mail.png (copy)
logo_white_small.png