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Reference Number ES/Y010582/1
Title Specifying Practices Enabled by Cycling In FIfteen-minute Cities (SPECIFIC)
Status Started
Energy Categories
Research Types
Science and Technology Fields
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation
Principal Investigator Dr T Schwanen
No email address given
Geography OUCE
University of Oxford
Award Type Standard
Funding Source ESRC
Start Date 01 October 2023
End Date 30 September 2026
Duration 36 months
Total Grant Value £224,916
Industrial Sectors
Region South East
Programme Economic Performance & Environment - Strategic Programme
 
Investigators Principal Investigator Dr T Schwanen , Geography OUCE, University of Oxford (100.000%)
Web Site
Objectives The 15-Minute City (15MC) has rapidly become a leading urban planning concept globally. The concept envisages a polycentric city of overlapping neighbourhoods designed according to principles of ubiquity, density, diversity and digitalisation allowing residents to fulfil daily needs within 15 minutes of walking or cycling. The 15MC concept can accelerate much-needed transformations in urban transport towards greater environmental sustainability, public health and social inclusion if cities are organised around walking and especially cycling - including e-bike use - as the default modes ways of moving around.The 15MC concept is attracting considerable attention in the academic literature but multiple gaps in academic understanding remain. These relate to where the concept is to be implemented, and success of implementation constitutes. The 15MC concept has been developed with large cities and central parts of cities with the greatest potential to enhance density and diversity in mind. However, the concept is eminently relevant to small and medium-sized cities (SMSCs) with up to 0.5m residents and their surroundings. This is not only because more than 40% of Europeans live there but also because of these cities' unfulfilled potential regarding cycling in particular. Furthermore, most Europeans do not live in compact, high-density, walkable and bikeable cities but in lower-density, car-oriented areas away from urban centres where fulfilling almost all daily needs by bike or on foot is difficult. Hence, the litmus test of implementing the 15MC concept across Europe is constituted by its suitability for reconfiguring low-density settings on the fringe of and around SMSCs, where daily life is typically premised on car use. Success of implementation can be gauged in many ways, but it can reasonably be argued that at least two conditions must be met. Concept implementation must: 1) contribute to greater socio-spatial justice in urban development and avoid reinforcing existing inequities by favouring already better-off places in cities while bypassing vulnerable communities and/or mis-recognising their residents' needs; and 2) trigger actual changes in how people lead their lives in the sense of both a localisation of daily activities closer to their residence and a shift towards walking and cycling.The overall objective of SPECIFIC is to support transformations towards sustainable and just urban mobility and development through the co-creation of a tool that will tailor the 15-minute city concept to the particular conditions, constraints and opportunities associated with low-density, peripheral settings in small and medium-sized cities in Europe. SPECIFC's innovativeness lies in the integration of 3 elements: 1) a transdisciplinary action research approach combining transition experiments in five European cities - Bellinzona, Bristol, Graz, Maastricht, and Poznan - and a transnational meta-lab to co-create knowledge and transformative change with relevant user communities, including residents, bike delivery firms and local policymakers; 2) consideration of socio-spatial justice in the implementation of the 15MC concept in low-density, peripheral settings in European SMSCs; and 3) development of a theoretical framework, based on Social Practice Theory, that enables rigorous and refined insight into processes and the role of cycling as a heterogeneous practice in socio-spatially just urban development in low-density, peripheral settings in European SMSCs.
Abstract The 15-minute city (15MC) concept has huge potential in accelerating urban mobility transformations towards environmental sustainability, public health and social inclusion, especially if cities are organised around cycling as the default transport mode for non-walkable distances. Significant challenges remain, however, not least because most Europeans live in lower-density, car-oriented areas away from urban centres where fulfilling all daily needs on foot or by bike is difficult and implementing the 15MC concept can increase socio-spatial inequalities. The proposed project aims to combine social practice theory, thinking on social inequalities and justice and transdisciplinary action research to co-create a tool for tailoring the 15MC concept to the particular conditions, constraints and opportunities associated with low-density settings in small and medium-sized cities in Europe. Strategic learning about upscaling and accelerating transformations towards just cycling-based urban development in low-density settings will be cultivated through transition experiments focused on cycling in five cities - Bellinzona, Bristol, Graz, Maastricht, and Poznan - and the creation of a transnational meta-lab where lessons from individual cities will be generalised. The SPECIFIC tool will help practitioners across Europe to reimagine and repurpose low-density, peripheral settings into areas where cycling prevails and allows people of different backgrounds to fulfil their daily needs
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 04/10/23