New urban plan: 15-min neighbourhoods

The pressure of rapid development is felt in the city’s living conditions, in addition to its impact on the natural resources and ecology.
Representative Image
Representative Image

BENGALURU: With extreme urbanisation, houses, buildings and apartment complexes forgetting the need for neighbourhoods that integrate sustainable mobility, public transit network, and open or recreational spaces. To address this, Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India has launched design guidelines for ‘Building 15-Minute Neighbourhoods’ in partnership with Jana Urban Space Foundation, for sustainable urban planning in India. The pilot model will be developed for the Nallurhalli neighbourhood in Bengaluru.

The guidelines, along with an implementation toolkit, highlight key strategies that cities can employ to facilitate a 15-minute neighbourhood, where most amenities are accessible within a 15-minute walk or cycle ride. The model focuses on people-centric, low-carbon cities along with good quality of life, by promoting high-quality pedestrian and public transport systems, safe public spaces and inclusive social infrastructure.

The document features case studies and surveys conducted across four select neighbourhoods in Bengaluru – Whitefield, Malleswaram, Indiranagar and Chickpet -- to support the suggested strategies.

Additional Chief Secretary, UDD, said, “Rather than relying on a broad, one-size-fits-all approach, it is crucial to tailor solutions to each neighbourhood’s unique needs and characteristics. The pressure of rapid development is felt in the city’s living conditions, in addition to its impact on the natural resources and ecology.”

The project has been developed following extensive research to evaluate existing services such as mobility infrastructure, public transport, and green spaces, with a focus on walkability, safety, and accessibility. Researchers also included the ‘Move-Play-Sustain-Include’ framework, designed to create accessible and vibrant communities.

Nithya Ramesh, Director, Jana Urban Space Foundation said, “For most people, their first memories of a city are tied to their street and neighbourhood before the city as a whole. In cities like Bengaluru, which has been navigating the gap between masterplans, there’s a unique opportunity to emphasise communities and neighbourhoods as foundational elements of urban development. This approach is central to our 15-minute neighbourhood programme, which aims to use communities as the building blocks for creating better cities, enhancing quality of life, and fostering a sense of belonging. Through the 15-minute neighbourhoods, we aim to bring people back into the planning process.”

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The New Indian Express