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Graphic Series: Earthly Ideas, 20-Minute Neighborhoods
Andy Lubershane, 15 Apr 09

This week's cartoon describes 20-Minute Neighborhoods. This term for walkable communities, which has often been used by urban planners, gained a lot of attention in Oregon last summer as city officials discussed the next version of the Portland Plan. We think it's great to see city planners actively pursuing this connected, mixed-use model of development, which enables and encourages residents to walk or bike rather than drive. Living near basic amenities like grocery stores not only makes everyday errands much easier; it can also make you healthier. Read more about real 20-minute neighborhoods in 20 Minute City, our newest series on Worldchanging Seattle!

Click image to enlarge

Editor's note: This post is part of a series featuring Worldchanging ally Andy Lubershane's original graphics. While many of the issues covered in the comics have been discussed on Worldchanging in the past, we hope that you'll be able to use this new medium in a different way … whether it's in your classroom, on your office wall, or to help explain ideas to friends and family.

Andy Lubershane researches, writes and cartoons about sustainability from his home in Boston. Check out more of his illustrations here

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A lovely idea for temperate climates. Here in Austin, Texas, for eight months every summer, a 20-minute walk is a killer. So the context for this idea of walkable neighborhoods has to be, "First, move somewhere walkable."

Posted by: Allen Varney on 15 Apr 09

20 min walk = 5 min on bike, which could be a hybrid and very easy

Posted by: hapa on 15 Apr 09

In New York, we walk every day of the year. I started in my school days and there was no choice - dress for the weather and go out, to school, to play, and bring a bag to shop with, our parents said! I'd love to move somewhere else when I retire but I'd only consider walkable areas, so please post more progress reports and more resources where I can find 20-minute communities!

Posted by: Everlight on 17 Apr 09

The great thing about living in some Asian cities is that they are already compact for many reasons (geographical constraints, land prices, etc.).

For instance in Taipei and Hong Kong densities are sufficient such that one can take subway, trams, buses or ferries to get around the city for work or leisure.

The need to not own a car is a great money saver, not to mention reducing one's carbon/ecological footprint. The addition of High Speed Rail also adds to the compact city advantages that East Asian cities already have, and will continue to have as carbon based transportation systems become ever costlier.

Posted by: D.Sadoway on 19 Apr 09

This seems like a much more workable idea in temperate parts of the country. It is also designed for 20-minute walkability for healthy, able adults. I have yet to hear a plan for a sustainable future that fully includes people with multiple young children, many pet owners (as pets often cannot ride on public transit), the elderly, and the disabled. There has to be a way to fix that.

Posted by: Lila on 21 Apr 09

There was a time not too long ago, before cars, when young children and the elderly traveled outside in inclement weather - though clearly their travel schedules did not have the same flexibility that cars provide. I'm sure more people could get used to walking than we, in our car-centric society, have been led to believe.

And for those who truly need them, hyper-efficient cars can still be an option. We don't need to banish cars entirely in the sustainable future - we just need to make them an exception instead of the rule.

Posted by: Andy Lubershane on 21 Apr 09

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