15-Minute Neighbourhoods: Shape the unfolding story of your community.

We need to rethink our reliance on cars, which contribute to congestion and emissions, impacting both our environment and quality of life. Lengthy commuting times strain productivity and well-being. Improving accessibility through smarter urban planning can enhance community connectivity and reduce dependency on vehicles. It's imperative to review zoning bylaws to encourage mixed-use developments and promote vibrant, walkable neighbourhoods. Embracing these changes will foster sustainable, equitable, and thriving urban environments. 

15-Minute Neighbourhoods are neighbourhoods which most daily necessities and services, such as work, shopping, education, healthcare, and leisure can be easily reached by a 15-minute walk, bike ride, or public transit ride. 15-Minute Neighbourhoods create greener, safer, healthier, happier, and smarter communities.  From shorter commute times and increased access to amenities to enhanced social cohesion and a greater sense of belonging, 15-minute neighbourhoods promise a multitude of benefits that contribute to a more vibrant, equitable, and sustainable city for all residents.

Ottawa needs to commit to a new definition of a Walkable Neighbourhood: a neighbourhood in which residents can conveniently and safely walk year-round to at least 80% of their weekly destinations and to a frequent transit stop, along routes that are enjoyable. Many areas that the City has identified as being 15-minute neighbourhoods in their Baseline Report (2021) based on access to services and amenities and quality of the pedestrian environment do not meet this definition.  This definition is crucial because Ottawa’s neighbourhoods and households will not move from auto-dependence to active transportation until our neighbourhoods are complete and our walks are enjoyable.


Share your story with us! Submit a video that includes images and clips for your neighbourhood- for example, your commute to work or school. 



By focusing on reducing transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, this initiative aligns with Ottawa's efforts to tackle one of its top emission sources, ultimately leading to cleaner air, reduced pollution, and a healthier, more active lifestyle for residents. Transitioning to a 15-minute neighbourhood model would mean zoning for multi-unit, low- to mid-rise buildings that share insulation and heat, with built-in bike storage, and shared amenities and vehicle parking. Overall, this translates to housing with a vastly smaller ecological footprint than traditional housing units.



 By design, making a neighbourhood walkable means making it safer. Pedestrian safety, and overall feeling of safety, get to be made real priorities. Streets are narrowed, reducing driving speeds. Crosswalks are shortened, making it easier to cross the street. Green spaces are revitalized, inspiring a sense of respect and care for the neighbourhood in residents and visitors alike. These changes may seem small on their own, but together they have a huge impact. Altogether, walkable neighbourhoods are safer.


 On average, Canadians exercise more regularly in walkable neighbourhoods. This is good news because, no matter when you start, daily exercise can lengthen your lifespan. While living in non-walkable neighbourhoods has been correlated with many increased health risks, these can be resolved with a few simple, meaningful changes that encourage walking and biking by making them easier, safer, and more enjoyable.


Smarter neighborhoods are places where more of what we need is nearby. They make our lives easier by design, saving us time and money so we can focus more on the things that matter to us most. Smarter housing allows for intentional and measured housing density, so that the neighbourhood can support the flourishing of local small businesses, making the neighbourhood even more walkable in turn. It also means zoning for units in a variety of types and sizes, so that residents can right-size their choice of residence based on their own housing needs. For residents, city planners, and developers alike, walkable neighbourhoods are just smarter.


A transition to walkability means not just making the walk possible, but desirable. Often, this can mean additional trees, community gardens, or creating more and better access to parks. These changes affect neighbourhood happiness too: those living in neighbourhoods that are more walkable and have better parks and green space have been found to be more satisfied with their lives.


 A variety of options for places to live and places to go. Shops, services, infrastructure, parks and recreation in proportion to population need. Sufficient density and housing options (variety of unit sizes, tenures and price points) to sustain neighbourhood services and amenities and to promote inclusion and social interactions. 


 Delightful, engaging, safe, year round walking routes and cycling paths too. 

Attractive, safe, healthy and green

 Tree-lined streets, new homes that compliment our streets, beautiful parks, less paving and more benches. 

Thriving, equitable and diverse

Peoples of all ages and incomes living life to the fullest. Businesses and workplaces animating wallaby shopping streets. Run-down buildings replaced or renewed. 


 Environmental, financial and socially responsible priorities that guide neighourhood planning and regulations.  



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