Cities Seeking '20-Minute Living'

Reducing car dependency can improve air quality, increase access to jobs and opportunities, and help cities meet emissions reduction goals.

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May 30, 2021, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


walkable street

Dewita Soeharjono / Flickr

Like other cities around the country, Eugene, Oregon is "pushing several initiatives to promote '20-minute living,' the ability to reach important destinations like grocery stores and workplaces within that time frame." As reported by Haisten Willis in the Washington Post, city leaders want to make 90% of Eugene "20-minute friendly" by 2030, a goal that supporters say will improve air quality and resident health, raise property values, and reduce transportation costs.

Terri Harding, Eugene's principal planner for long-range planning, calls compact development and 20-minute neighborhoods the "pillars of growth management" for the city. The city's downtown, as a cultural and civic hub, is already a "gold-star 20-minute neighborhood," but "enhancing walkability farther out will be challenging."

Improving access isn't just about promoting biking and walking and enhancing transit. "Making cities more walkable involves creating a more compact footprint, where more businesses are built near existing homes. But it also means building housing near existing businesses, such as stores and restaurants." As deeply intertwined issues, transportation and land use must be approached simultaneously. "While the term '20-minute neighborhood' seems to refer primarily to transportation, it also speaks to land use. Planning and zoning are major factors as well, with more mixed-use and infill development needed to realize the vision."

Thursday, May 20, 2021 in The Washington Post

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