15-minute Cities: Convenience Not Conspiracy

KeyNotes article submitted by:

Andy Yan, Vancouver Chapter

Andy Yan is the director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University.  Andy holds a master of urban planning from the University of California – Los Angeles.  He is a registered professional planner with the Canadian Institute of Planners, a Certified Geographic Information Systems Professional, and has been inducted into the Vancouver Chapter of LAI. 


‘15-minute neighbourhoods’ evaluated the presence of (or prospects for) 15-minute neighbourhoods within the City of Vancouver, Canada, alongside a brief examination of the Metro Vancouver Region.  While there are many components that together form the basis for a 15-minute city the study focused on the changing role retail uses play in neighborhoods.  

The report Co-Authored by Lewis Silberberg (LAI), Justin Barer, and Andy Yan (LAI) and funded through a Research Grant from the Vancouver Chapter:

  • Summarizes the concept and core components of the 15-minute city based upon recently published literature;
  • Reviews the ‘retail commerce’ component of the 15-minute city / neighbourhood;
  • Unpacks how the retail element of the 15-minute neighbourhood can be provided, and the core components that drive its success;
  • Applies established evaluation criteria to available data sets from the City of Vancouver and for the broader Metro Vancouver region to identify the presence (or deficiencies) of 15-minute neighbourhoods as seen through a retail lens;
  • Outlines key takeaways including how retail involves a grouping of different business categories which vary in their role delivering essential services. Factors such as accessibility, walkability, density, and design contribute to 15-minute neighbourhoods.
  • Raises questions of how to create 15-minute neighbourhoods in automobile-oriented suburban communities outside the City of Vancouver is a greater challenge as they do not have the benefit of a physical and policy legacy of being a streetcar city.


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