In the recently released Resident Voice Index™ report, we took a look at neighbourhoods and communities across the UK. This week, we’re having a look at an interesting town planning approach called the ‘15-minute city’ that sparked some of the ideas in this report. The idea aims to put local services with fair access at the centre of people’s lives to help support neighbourhoods and communities.
What’s the difference between neighbourhoods and communities?
They’re often used to describe the same thing, but neighbourhoods and communities are actually two halves of a whole – and both need to be considered in order to create happy residents!
Neighbourhoods: these are the physical spaces and facilities (shops, doctors, etc.) around us, as well as being the general identity of the place that you live.
Communities: this describes the people that live within neighbourhoods and the connections they have to one another.
What is the 15-minute city?
The idea of the ’15-minute city’ looks at how urban neighbourhoods could be more centred around the people that live in neighbourhoods and their ways of life. One of the main ways the 15-minute city is measured is – you guessed it – by finding out what facilities and services residents have within a 15-minute journey of their home. This means people don’t have to travel long distances to access things like doctors or food shops.
The factors that make up 15-minute cities are access to services that support:
In the UK, 15-minute cities are starting to be looked at as a planning tool. Local authorities and city councils are being given funding around this idea to build more connected neighbourhoods. In March 2021 for example, Ipswich announced that it wanted to become the UK’s first ‘15-minute town’ – and it got a £25 million grant to achieve this!
Is the UK already a country of 15-minute neighbourhoods?
For the Resident Voice Index™ Neighbourhoods & Communities survey, we asked UK social housing residents about the importance of certain amenities and facilities being within a 15-minute journey of their home and how well provided for they were currently.
The results showed that actually, across the UK people are generally close to the facilities and amenities that are important to them. For example, 90% of people live within 15 minutes of a GP surgery and 89% within 15 minutes of green spaces. These two were also rated as the most important things for neighbourhoods to have. Overall, services and amenities related to health and wellbeing came out as the most important to social housing residents.
What’s important to you?
When looking for a swap, we know that everyone has different priorities for the things they want to have close to a new home. Did you know that when you’re looking at people’s adverts on HomeSwapper, you can check all the amenities that their home has around it?
On their ad, underneath their photos you’ll see a tab that says ‘Amenities’.
If you click on this, you’ll get a list of everything they have around their home and the distance that each one is from it. This is automatically updated every week, so you can be sure you’re getting the most up to date information!
It’s so important to have the things that you need within easy travelling distance of you. Generally, we found in our Neighbourhoods & Communities report that people in the UK have access to what they need and want in their neighbourhoods. The quality and ease of access to these things helps us all thrive beyond our four walls and engage with and contribute to wider society.
The full Neighbourhoods & Communities report is out now and ready for you to read it here!
The HomeSwapper Customer Support team are always on hand to give advice and tips on how to get the most from HomeSwapper. They deal with Swappers every day and have a unique insight and view on the thousands of successful swaps that take place on HomeSwapper.