Sweden's 'One-Minute City' Reimagines the Street at a Hyper-Local Level

Rather than trying to meet all of a community's needs within a one-minute radius, Sweden's Street Moves pilot program gives residents the power to decide how street space gets used.

January 8, 2021, 8:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Stockholm Complete Street

EURIST e.V. / Flickr

Move over, "15-minute city," writes Feargus O'Sullivan for Bloomberg. Sweden is pioneering the "one-minute city," a hyper-local vision inspired by the push for decentralizing urban services and creating dense, walkable communities where residents can find almost everything they need within minutes.

Locally-focused schemes such as the 15-minute city and Barcelona's famous superblocks gained steam in 2020 as shelter-in-place orders made people hyper-aware of their immediate neighborhoods and emphasized the need for locally available services and local infrastructure that improves quality of life. Sweden's approach focuses even more closely on "the space outside your front door — and that of your neighbors adjacent and opposite," according to Dan Hill, director of strategic design for Vinnova, Sweden's national innovation agency.

The project, dubbed Street Moves, is being piloted in four sites around Stockholm, where residents can decide how street space is used and allocated through community workshops and consultations. The goal isn't to make everything available within one minute, but rather to reimagine the patches of street immediately outside the home as "critical connecting spaces for communities" and not just "places to move and store cars." If successful, Sweden plans to implement the program on every street in the country by 2030.

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