New '15 Minute City' Planning Vision Launched for Dublin

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By Chamber Press Office, 14 September 2020

Dublin Chamber has today launched an ambitious new urban vision for Dublin which calls for a '15-minute city' principle to become a standard in all development planning.
 
Dublin Chamber's new 'Dublin: A 15-Minute City' document calls for the concept of hyper-proximity to be adopted by planners in Dublin. The document points to the success of the 'hyper-proximity' approach in other cities such as Melbourne, Barcelona and Paris, which seeks to enhance both quality of life and sustainability.
 
The Chamber said that the recent Covid lockdown had highlighted the importance of urban planning that is focused on creating liveable, walkable communities in which people can live and access most of their daily needs within 15 minutes of active transport, i.e. walking or cycling.
 
These places should have diverse housing options and access to: safe cycle routes and local public transport, local health facilities, parks, shops, and other local infrastructure, the Chamber says in the document.
 
Outlining the benefits of the 15 minute city principle, the Chamber document outlines: "The core of this concept is mixed development, integrating as many uses as possible within the same space. This in many ways counteracts the past century of planning which has focused on separating residential areas from those for retail, employment, manufacturing, and entertainment."
 
According to Dublin Chamber's Director of Public & International Affairs Aebhric McGibney: "By adopting the 15 Minute City principle we can significantly enhance the liveability of Dublin. Reduced congestion and pollution, enhanced public spaces, thriving local economies and efficient public transport would all improve Dublin’s international reputation and competitiveness. Such a vision, if carried out successfully, could prove transformative for Dublin and enhance not only the lives of its residents and local economy, but its attractiveness as a place in which to do business. As remote working continues into the future the 15 Minute City concept will be pivotal in reimagining the city."
 
Addressing Shortfalls
 
The Chamber contends in the document that community development in Dublin has often taken place on an ad hoc basis. The 15 Minute City concept seeks to ensure that planners and local authorities look at the needs of a local community: what facilities or infrastructure are in place, which are not, and how shortfalls can be addressed.
 
Dublin Chamber’s vision is that within 15 minutes of active transport from their home, Dublin residents should:
 
• Have access to a key public transport hub to commute around the city to access work or higher-level services;
• Be connected to their local community through safe, accessible, and well-connected footpaths and cycle paths;
• Have access to an open greenspace and high quality public realm;
• Have facilities and services that promote local living and a local economy.
 
To deliver this vision across the city region, the new Dublin Chamber report recommends:
 
• Consideration of the guiding principles of hyper-proximity and the 15 Minute City vision in the upcoming reviews of the four local authority Development Plans. Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council, South Dublin County Council, and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, must work together to improve the liveability of Dublin for all its residents;
• Establishment of a pilot programme, similar to those used in Melbourne, to be trialled in one community in each of four local authorities to establish learnings and identify implementation issues arising from such an ambitious plan;
• Use of the Local Area Plan and Strategic Development Zone models to deliver the 15 Minute City vision and to encourage further development and regeneration in built parts of the city;
• A review to identify parts of Dublin that have a particular shortage of the facilities essential to creating a 15 Minute City, particularly greenspace and public transport;
• A review of the ‘Sustainable Urban Housing: Design standards for new apartments’ document to ensure that access to communal amenity space and pedestrian first policy is placed at the core of design;
• Integration and consideration of community needs into planning conditions and zoning;
• Consideration of partnerships between industry and communities to develop mixed-use spaces;
• Pedestrian-first planning to enhance the permeability of our public spaces, creating a walkable city that supports the delivery of inclusive, vibrant and healthy communities;
• Significant capital investment in transport infrastructure, including the delivery of key projects for Dublin such as BusConnects, MetroLink, and Luas and DART expansion;
• Accelerating investment in and delivery of the Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network Plan;
• A focus on mixed-housing developments, increasing population density and embracing the principle of compact growth and brownfield regeneration.
 
A full copy of Dublin Chamber’s 'Dublin: A 15-Minute City' report can be found here.