While the majority of the people in Metro cities in India spend hours to reach their work places, urban planners in Western World are planning cities where travelling time is reduced to a few minutes. The 15-minute city popularised by the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo who made it her re-election agenda is now much talked about idea all over Europe. Though this concept is not new one, the present situation, gifted by COVID-19 outbreak, may need a solution based on this concept, especially at the wards and neighbourhood level. Sweden seems to have gone one step further (or many steps) as it talks about 1-minute city!
While Paris talks about managing space in 15-minute radius, Sweden’s project operates at the single street level, paying attention to the space outside resident’s front door — and that of neighbors adjacent and opposite. Similarly, Britain too where cities tend to have rows of streets rather than grids of courtyard blocks, the emphasis will be on the street itself, and in transforming that into gardens or parks.
Popularly known as Street Moves, the initiative allows local communities to become co-architects of their own streets’ layouts. Under this initiative, residents can control, through workshops and consultations, how much street space is used for parking, or for other public uses. It’s already rolled out experimentally at four localities in Stockholm, Sweden with three more cities about to join the move. The ultimate goal of the initiative is to rethink and makeover every street in the country in the new decade, so that every street in Sweden is healthy, sustainable and vibrant by 2030.
Unlike the 15-minute city concept, Sweden’s one-minute city model is not about meeting the needs of all city residents at the individual household level — that would overlook fundamentals like public transit, job access, or specialist health care. Instead, the spaces just beyond the doorstep are ideal places for cities to start developing new, more direct ways of engaging with the public. They are a filter and a portal to the wider world; the atmosphere they generate and the amenities they contain speak volumes about how a community operates and what it values.
So, urban planning around the world is changing and we need to catch up with the latest trends.