Engel & Völkers Licence Partner Costa Brava Sud > Blog > The 15-minute city - infrastructural developments

The 15-minute city - infrastructural developments

Mayor Anne Hidalgo wants to completely redesign the city centre of Paris. In this way, the streets are to be made available only to pedestrians and cyclists and the inner city is to be made as car-free as possible. Not only would air pollution be significantly reduced, this would also considerably improve the quality of life of the people living there.

The few planned roads are intended for all road users and those who still use a car would not be allowed to overtake. Parking lots or streets could be transformed into parks, city gardens for urban gardening and playgrounds. Since a car needs quite a lot of space, even if it is only standing in a parking lot, there would be much more residential space available.

 17220 Sant Feliu de Guíxols (Girona)
- Through smart planning, new living space can be created where parking spaces once dominated the cityscape.

This reminds a bit of a village where everybody knows everybody, because everything is clearly arranged and within proximity. And yet the newly gained space must be used optimally if several such quarters are to be created. When there were no cars, urban planning was structured differently to meet the needs of the inhabitants.

And thus, a residential area which is intended to be largely car-free must probably adapt somewhat to the cities of the past. In plain language, this means that all facilities that are important to the citizen must also be accessible on foot within a short time.

Shopping facilities, doctors, kindergartens, schools and authorities should all be within a radius of 15 minutes. Workplaces, leisure facilities and opportunities for going out must also be in the immediate vicinity in order to meet this requirement. This would be possible above all if there were also a broad network of cycle paths.

Each neighbourhood can function as a small town in its own right and thus acquire a slightly rural character. The retail sector can also benefit from this restructuring.

Impact of the 15-minute city on the property market

If every neighbourhood is to be transformed into a world of its own with a well-developed infrastructure, there is also an urgent need for buildings that offer both business premises and housing. This represents a completely new challenge for the real estate market, but at the same time offers a wide range of opportunities to revitalise the property market.

This restructuring will certainly also affect future property prices.

With the help of smart conversion measures, existing buildings can offer more living space than before; new buildings must be suitable both for commercial use and as living space. Also conceivable would be smaller residential units, possibly already furnished, which might be tempting especially for young people or singles. But also multi-generation houses and gardeners or beekeepers on the rooftops of the city would certainly accommodate the idea of regional supply.

Since the real estate market is also affected by this planned conversion into smaller residential units and compact quarters, buildings or even condominiums could experience an increase in value. So if you are thinking of selling your property, you should seek sound advice from a professional real estate agent.

Other European countries are already demonstrating that a city that puts people and their quality of life first in order to create new housing and living space can function.

In Oslo, this concept is being implemented step by step since 2015. There, it was not only the environmental damage such as the increasing fine dust pollution that prompted the city government at the time to rethink. Social togetherness, which is to be promoted by such a living culture, also played a major role in the planning of a 15-minute city.

This much innovative pioneering spirit inspires other cities to follow suit. As a result, other Scandinavian cities are already planning the gradual transformation of their inner cities, as are London and Barcelona. It is only a matter of time before this trend of the 15-minute city also reaches Germany.

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