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New urban model proposes sidewalks as a means of enhancing mobility, kickstarting the 15-minute city concept.


A: A pavement network for the city of Barcelona was created using data from OpenStreetMap, as well as municipal and regional data sources. The edges of the grid were annotated by different attributes relevant to walkability, namely: width, slope, and pedestrian vehicle crash risk level. Moreover, a variety of geo-tagged services and facilities are mapped to the edges of the network, and residents are mapped to the nodes. B: The proportioned mesh allows us to remove edges that do not meet certain requirements of pedestrians with limited mobility. A: By focusing our analysis on the level of the pedestrian (ego) gathering area, we can learn more about the true day-to-day reachability of the network. credit: Computers, environment and urban systems (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2022.101936

Neither artificial intelligence nor the metaverse will determine the cities of the future. Instead, everything indicates that it is something as realistic as its proximity to services. This is what’s known as the 15-minute city, and work on it is already being done in cities like Barcelona, ​​Paris, Bogota, Shanghai, and Melbourne.

In this new urban paradigm, based on walking travel, one urban feature that does not always get the attention it deserves takes on special significance: the sidewalk. This topic has been studied by three researchers from the Complex Systems Group (CoSIN3) of the Interdisciplinary Internet Institute (IN3) of the Universidad Operta de Catalunya (UOC): Daniel Rhodes, Albert Soli Ribalta and Javier Borg-Holthofer.

“We developed a flexible framework to test the strength of city pavement networks in relation to the diverse mobility constraints of residents and applied it to Barcelona,” Rhodes explained. The result is that “even a pedestrian-friendly city like Barcelona does not tolerate a 15-minute commute from the city when moderate physical restrictions are taken into account.”

“Over the past 100 years, humanity has created cities designed for car travel. Now, they’re starting to adapt to getting around on foot,” Rhodes said. In the study, its findings have been published as open access in the journal Computers, environment and urban systemsIn , the authors discuss different approaches to improving the pavement network. “We propose a framework for evaluating multifactorial walkability using filter theory and providing insights into pedestrian behavior,” Rhodes explained.

The authors worked on a digital depiction of Barcelona’s pavement system, with information such as pavement width, slope, and hazard level based on traffic accident data. The method used allowed the researchers to see how network connectivity varies depending on people’s mobility requirements.

“For example, someone in a wheelchair needs to be at least two meters wide and slopes no more than two degrees,” Rhodes said. “By focusing our analysis on any point in a city, we can ascertain how many key services a person can reach within a 15-minute walk, under any set of circumstances.”

15 minutes to the city

“This is a completely recent idea put forward by urbanist Carlos Moreno, a Colombian based in Paris, in which cars are kept out of the city centre,” Rhodes said. In general, this new urban paradigm seeks to ensure that all daily needs are met within a reasonable distance: going to the supermarket, doctor, school, park, library or public transport stop.

“This means that all of these services need to be distributed across the entire territory of the city, but, first of all, there is a need to determine what the main services actually are and what are the optimal locations to reach the largest number of people,” Rhodes said. . Rebuilding cities is not easy.

“Barcelona is making progress towards this model with its policy of large apartment complexes. And on a global level, given its reasonable size and robust public transport system, and the distribution of the population throughout the metropolitan area, which combines residential buildings and businesses, it can already be considered a fairly walkable city. What,” said Rhodes from the United States, where he lives. “Here, cities are more horizontal, distances are vast, and everything is designed for cars.”

The ultimate goal of the 15-Minute City is to improve the quality of life of its residents. “Walking is a healthy way to exercise, and by reducing the number of trips taken in combustion engine-powered vehicles, it improves air quality, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and reduces the risk of traffic accidents,” Rhodes noted.

more information:
Daniel Rhodes et al., The 15-Minute Inclusive City: Analyzing Walkability Using Pavement Networks, Computers, environment and urban systems (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2022.101936

Provided by Universidad Operta de Catalunya (UOC)

the quote: The 15-minute city begins with sidewalks that aid mobility: Study suggests a new urban model (2023, May 10) Retrieved May 10, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-05-minute-city- sidewalks-help-mobility.html

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