Table discussion interpreted by Roland Dorsay and Erin Whittingham.

Priority: Foster affordable, diverse (both in income and household demographics), walkable and well-governed neighbourhoods where the essentials of daily living can be met within a 15 minute walk or cycle. Good urban design ensures that our public spaces (streets, parks, plazas, shops, green spaces, etc.) are safe and healthy meeting places for a collective life.

Policy actions:

  • Develop local 15 Minute Neighbourhood Action Plans where localized self-reliance can be enhanced on multiple levels. This is relevant to maturing urban neighbourhoods, suburban communities and rural villages. The plans should consider food, energy, waste management, water, air supply and quality, commerce, meaningful employment, affordable housing, culture, recreation, physical and mental health and transportation.
  • Recognizing that one size does not fit all, delegate a higher level of decision-making in planning to neighbourhoods and the local Councillor, so that communities can identify their own needs and make their own decisions.
  • Provide City-wide data, criteria and metrics to help guide the development of local action plans.
  • Periodically undertake a neighbourhood liveability audit to assess progress. Use the audit to identify gaps the city can help address collectively through enabling policies and/or access to programming options (e.g.: pocket parks; communal food gardens, mixed use buildings, complete streets, plazas, safe walkable/cycleable pathways, sidewalk benches, employment nodes, local food shops and health services, community centers).
  • Amend the Zoning By-Law to better enable what is required for connected and sustainable 15 Minute Neighbourhoods.
  • Transform all neighbourhood main streets from car-centric roadways to more modally-mixed ones that are accessible and safe for public transit, pedestrians and cyclists, and supportive of a gradual reduction in use of private vehicles.
  • Accommodate projected population growth fairly and sensibly across all planning contexts (villages, outer urban, inner urban and downtown core), rather than just along major transportation corridors. This also means prioritising context sensitivity with respect to urban growth and intensification around Nodes and Corridors.
  • Require any new plan of subdivision within the current urban boundary to be based on a 15 Minute Neighbourhood framework. More generally, any change of land use must align with the objectives of a 15 Minute Neighbourhood.

Immediate steps:

New development, big or small, is the first opportunity for residents to benefit from the 15 Minute Neighbourhood. Therefore, the first immediate step is for all decision-making regarding new subdivisions within the current urban boundary and in villages to align with a 15 Minute Neighbourhood framework.

In conjunction with local neighbourhoods, their respective Councillors and other stakeholders, undertake neighbourhood liveability audits to identify what needs to be done to develop complete 15 Minute neighbourhoods to the fullest extent practicable.

To assist with the development of the local action plans, the City must make available neighbourhood-level data to support community-led decision making, as well as commit to amending zoning by-laws that hinder the ability of communities to implement a 15 Minute Neighbourhood.

Linkages to other priorities: 

Fostering 15 minute neighbourhoods directly relates to the planning and provision of high performance buildings and waste management, active transportation in the context of an effective and sustainable transportation network and access to nature (see related posts).