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Can India’s Growing Suburban & Greenfield Cities Be Conscious Of "15-Minute Cities" Planning Concept

As India undergoes a transformation in its urban landscape, with a keen focus on creating "sustainable cities of tomorrow", it has become imperative for the government, planners, and authorities to constantly explore new advancements for its developing urban areas.

One such idea currently active in the city development discourse is the ‘15-minute city’ planning concept.

The idea was first presented by Franco-Colombian scientist Carlos Moreno and envisions a more decentralised city.

The discussion around the concept gained momentum during the COVID-19 crisis, with the rising need of shorter, personal travel spaces and improved accessibility.

This globally debated concept of the '15-minute city' can also be contextualized for India's urban development, considering a few of its ideas align with the Indian systems of city planning and cultures.

What Are ‘15-Minute Cities’ The "15-minute city" is an urban planning approach that seeks to establish cities, where citizens can access all their necessities within a shorter radius, either by walking, cycling, or using public transportation.

This concept puts an emphasis at the neighbourhood level, giving each region the features required for quality liveability — including jobs, housing, food, recreation, green spaces, medical facilities, small businesses and more.

From a planning perspective, the idea advocates developing networks of self-sufficient neighbourhoods wherein individual needs can be catered locally — and not dividing the city into zones of shopping, residential or business districts.

The concept has also gained support with the growing recognition for multiple active transport options, green spaces and accessibility challenges in today’s cities.

However, the implementation of such concepts requires a more significant effort on the part of municipal governments in delivering the necessary infrastructure to sustain these changes. The concept has been attempted globally in various sections of cities.

The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, was one of the first to embrace this concept that represented a spatial arrangement wherein residents could meet their daily needs on foot, within a 15-minute radius of their homes.

Further, following similar ideas, cities like Bogota and Berlin have attempted to create temporary bike lanes for public transit.

There have been plans for road-space reallocation in Milan and Barcelona, while Lisbon and México City have launched public and private shared bike schemes.


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