15mn cities for economic development

What are we talking about today ?

  1. The urban planning concept behind the 15-minute city is that cities can be (re)designed, so that all residents access their daily needs (housing, work, food, health, education, and culture and leisure) within the distance of a 15-minute walk or bike ride. 
  2. This greatly reduces car traffic and harmful emissions, increases the health, and well-being of residents and contributes to territorial attractiveness. 
  3. The model is routinely adjusted by cities to fit into their local culture, conditions, and needs, including a 30 min territory for rural territories. 
  4. Professor Carlos Moreno, scientific director and professor at University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne has turned the concept into a global movement that gets political attention, leading to real change (kudos!).
  5. Urban Radar reflects on how the 15-minute city urban planning tool evolves into an Economic Development lever and how it has impacted its Citizen Needs Product for the benefits of cities and real estate companies.

The political view

A core political programme in Paris, FR

At the occasion of the 11th World Urban Forum, and her C40 Chair role, Paris’ Mayor Anne Hidalgo reinforced its intentions to make Paris a 15-Minute city. For the Mayor, the 15-minute city has become more than a concept, it is the core of all urban planning policies in the city. Her vision is that the 15-Minute city model will be the most effective solution to the economic, social and environmental challenges present in urban centres all around the world. 

The territorial view

An economic development tool in Bethune-Bruay, France

Béthune-Bruay, France, is a 100+ municipalities territory of 645 km2 with a 280 000 souls population.The economic development team is taking the 15-min city a step further by mixing both urban and rural stakes to create 30-min liveability and proximity areas. Their goal is to reinforce the links between the municipalities, start building the territory of the future, and map the economic development actions they need to implement to reach their attractiveness goals. 

The institutional view

International Panel on Climate Change

The IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change), in its latest 2022 Report, explored the impact cities can have to mitigate the effects of climate change, particularly through the implementation of hyper proximity programmes. In its own words, “Urban areas that develop and implement effective 15/20-minute city programmes are very likely to reduce urban energy use and multiply emission reductions, representing an important cascading effect.”


Urban Radar's takeway

In contrast to the 20th century rapid urbanisation and car-centric planning, and with the energy crisis we have entered this year, the idea of a village within a city has never felt more present than today. The same applies to rural areas, in which having access within 30 min drive is also essential.  

Consequently, ‘15 minutes city’ leads to the much wider acknowledgment that the concept of Proximity is essential to the future of our territories. Beyond the global urbanism movement benefits, Proximity analysis is a foundation of economic development strategies in both cities and rural areas. 

Cities’ economic development and planners teams are reaching out to Urban Radar to have spatial data driven insights to inform proximity-based development strategies and policies. Cities ask for an easy tool for analysing, measuring and providing policies to help transform territories.

For example,  Eurometropole de Strasbourg in France works with our Citizen Needs product to: 
Assess the access and distribution of citizen core needs throughout the city
Locate pockets of low economic activity to skilfully target areas in need of local initiatives
Measure their baseline ‘Proximity’ score and monitor its improvement towards the city territorial goals. 

Meanwhile, private sector clients such as developers, contractors and retailers are using Citizen Needs to build or update their territorial strategies through data-driven decision making.