Turning Suburbia into Neighborhoods


On NRDC’s Switchboard blog today, contributor Kaid Benfield (Co-founder of Smart Growth America) discusses the planning concept of the “20 minute neighborhood.” This type of community design creates a place where one’s needs (meaning, access to services and amenties) can be met in 20 minutes by walking. Benfield speaks to the positive (even enviable) aspects of such a neighborhood – for example, increased productivity and savings. This is significant, as the Texas Transportation Institute recently reported that Americans waste an average of $87 billion a year on lost time and fuel.

Mike Larabee is cited within the entry, stating, “The people who design your streets, transportation systems, parks and sewer hope to bring the concept of the 20-minute neighborhood to areas outside the city core.” The goal is then to create neighborhoods and a sense of community within the outerlying region of the center cores – places where, often, the car is king.

I invite you to check out the full blog post on the topic, with more detail about where the concept was created and what brought the firm to create it. Do you think that a 20-minute neighborhood concept could be implemented into the Lehigh Valley’s townships and boroughs?

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About Beata Bujalska

Beata Bujalska is the former Campaign Coordinator for Renew Lehigh Valley. She currently lives in Panama, a place that fascinates her due to (among other reasons) its recent development boom.

Posted on October 27, 2009, in Public Infrastructure, Transportation, Urbanism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I was walking around South Side Bethlehem this past weekend, and one thing I thought was that groceries are a big issue. There’s that one supermarket on Broadway I think. In NYC, it’s helpful that you’re never far from a deli (bodega.) How could the city go about creating incentives for people to open small groceries within residential areas, at least enough so that anyone could walk to one within 10 minutes, as you say? That could help minimize extra car trips to the grocery store.

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