The 20 Minute City

03 NOV 2021
I live in a 20 minute city. We're a 15-20 minute walk from the Christchurch CBD, less on a bike. We're 5 minutes from the local shops, and medical centre, and 20 minutes on bike to the local High School. We seldom need to use a car for day to day needs - we only really use it if the whole need to go further afield for sports, or to a friends, or to a restaurant in the evening. And even then we would first consider if it makes sense to walk, bike or bus.

My wife gets around the city on the bus as she chooses not to drive. It something we're used to since we relocated from a large Asian city. Having a car is a luxury that we find we don't need much of the time.

But this is not the case for most New Zealanders, and even most of the residents of Christchurch. We happen to live within 2km of the CBD in an old tram suburb that arose during a time when everyone lived in a 20 minute city. It's not much of a stretch for us to continue the tradition. We have a choice of two major cycleways - and can get into town, and around town by safe protected routes very easily. It is a joy to cycle - not a hardship,

But there is a move to make such walkable neighbourhoods more common in New Zealand - to densify and enhance the walkability of our suburbs and towns. New developments should be looked at in the light of such a paradigm - and not through the lens of how to accommodate cars, SUVs, and double cab utes.

WSP have a paper - The 20-min city in Aotearoa - on this impetus - and it is a good read.

This builds on the 15 minute city proclaimed by Major Hidalgo in Paris - already a famously walkable city it is becoming a much more liveable city.

New Zealand needs to be as ambitious.
By Hab3