C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and Arup have released a new guidebook – Green and Thriving Neighborhoods – which offers a framework and approach for delivering net zero status using ‘15-minute city’ principles. It’s aimed at city authorities, developers, and communities and may be used for both new and existing neighborhoods around the world.
The guidebook stresses the importance of neighborhood action as opposed to waiting for a top-down approach from central governments. They believe that local projects can be used as urban test beds for new approaches in the bid for net zero status.
“As urban populations increase, we know that compact and connected communities are the best way to preserve global resources and fragile biodiversity,” said Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, mayor of Buenos Aires and vice-chair of C40 Cities. “We must harness a model for low-carbon urban development that is human-scale, thriving and inclusive for our future; a model that promotes sustainable and equitable neighbourhoods that citizens and their leaders can strive for and then replicate it widely.”
A focus of the guidebook is the concept of the 15-minute city. This urban planning principle encourages essential amenities within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from peoples’ homes, in order to improve accessibility and inclusivity. It suggests various approaches to creating a 15-minute city, including: creating adaptable spaces; promoting people-centred streets and mobility; encouraging clean construction by repurposing and refurbishing existing infrastructural assets; and, investing in neighbourhood-wide energy infrastructure to generate, store, and share clean energy.
“The neighborhood scale in a city offers some unique opportunities to accelerate towards net zero. Taking advantage of the balance between scale and agility, neighbourhood projects can pioneer new policy, trial innovative partnership arrangements, consider creative ways to increase citizen participation and test new technologies or products that can support the overarching vision,” stated Anna König Jerlmyr, mayor of Stockholm and vice-chair of C40 Cities. “Developing neighbourhood demonstrators that set a positive vision of cities’ low carbon future, can be a strong catalyst for change.”