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Our 'shovel ready' COVID response: The 20min city

Submitted by Adam Beck on September 1, 2020

What is the idea behind the '20 Minute City', and how might it become a key opportunity for post-crisis economic recovery?

Well, the City of Hamilton in New Zealand has a strategy for that!

We recently interviewed Jen Baird (General Manager, City Growth) and Iain White (Professor of Environmental Planning) to talk about their COVID-19 related economic stimulus, and how the 20 Minute City concept is 'shovel ready' for the City of Hamilton and the Waikato region.

Some key points from the converation included:

  • Global city rankings about the best places in the world are rarely robust from a research perspective, and Professor White believes that from a user experience cities with populations of between 150,000-500,000 (like the City of Hamilton) people benefit from being in a 'sweet spot', in that they benefit from the cluster of people and the associated amenity, but without the urban congestion and similar disadvantages.
  • Our city planning approaches could be further fine-tuned to extend beyond just numbers (number of dwellings, number of jobs) and speed (supporting quick approvals and processes) to one about reallocating resources for public good, for future generations.
  • The Waikato is recalibrating the 20min city, by putting people first, and in doing so ensuring its about lifestyle and amenity, and then putting infrastructure in its place. This goes against the grain of typical infrastructure-led economic renewal in response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 You can watch the full interview below, or listen into the podcast here.