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  • How Can We Build Towards the 15 Minute City?

    How Can We Build Towards the 15 Minute City?

    The 15 Minute City isn’t feasible in Kamloops without public engagement and support. There, we said it.
     
    The 15 Minute City is a concept where a resident can access all their needs within a 15-minute walk like your job, school, doctor, store, place of worship, and more. This concept draws on planning, land use, and development; however, without civic engagement - like voting in municipal elections or completing a survey- innovative ideas will not bubble to the surface.


    Photo Credit: Rachel Lewis 

    Luckily, the Kamloops’ Official Community Plan (KAMPLAN) exists and draws on public feedback that shapes neighbourhoods, transportation networks, affordable housing, and much more. This article will highlight the KAMPLAN, ways to work towards the 15 Minute City, and how the benefits support social, economic, and environmental development.
     
    Why Does the KAMPLAN Matter?
    According to the City of Kamloops, the KAMPLAN “provides directions on planning, land use, and development...to support a project population of 120,000 by 2039, while setting the stage for longer-term growth.”
     
    Whether there’s a change of economic, political, or environmental climate, the KAMPLAN sets long-term growth. The document details strategies on growth management; environment; transportation & mobility; housing; parks; arts; economic development; community well-being and more.
     
    Aspects of the 15-Minute City are embedded in this document including:

    • Bicycling: “Create a continuous network of safe and direct bicycling routes to encourage commuting and other daily trips that connect residents to major employment, schools, and amenities…”
    • Food Security: “Encourage the use of urban agriculture as a means of place‑making and revitalizing vacant and underutilized lots, remediated brownfield sites, and key public spaces…”
    • Residential Development: Require that new residential development is planned and developed to include...convenient access to areas of employment by public transit or active transportation linkages…”

    Photo Credit: Mary Putnam 

    What Are the Benefits?
     Benefits of the 15-Minute City include:
    • The wellbeing of residents improves when they have a shorter commute and closer access to parks & recreation opportunities
    • Improved accessibility and mobility options in neighbourhoods, not just high-traffic zones
    • Better food security when community gardens and/or grocery stores are accessible
    • Stronger social connections between businesses and residents
     
     
    How Can We Build Towards It?
    Immediate actions that you can do to support the 15 Minute City include:
    • Using existing infrastructure like multi-use pathways such as the Rivers Trail. Trail user data informs decision making including upgrades like filling potholes or creating signage
    • Support existing businesses in your neighbourhood. Connect with your barista or barber.
    • Engage in local development by filling out the five minute KAMPLAN surveys, or membership surveys with your neighbourhood association.
     
    The 15 Minute City cannot be created overnight as we have to question long-term growth of our neighbourhood and future demands. You might live in the Sagebrush Neighbourhood right now and walk to your downtown office and bike directly to your favourite trailhead. If you’re this resident, you can probably walk for groceries and medical appointments. This is great news for the Sagebrush neighbourhood, but what about in 20 years when you retire to another part of town? Will you have the same accessibility, the same needs, and same health?
     
    If not, we encourage you to consider your piece of the 15 Minute City pie.


    Thumbnail Image by: Candace Hansma

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