A return to the 15-minute neighbourhood? Your views needed

The Coalition for Healthier Streets and Active Travel (CoHSAT) is inviting people living in Oxfordshire to take part in a survey about the everyday amenities they would most like to have within walking distance of where they live.

People shopping at a local street market
Photo by Gabriella Clare Marino / Unsplash

The recent lockdowns led many of us to reassess our travel habits and take a fresh look at our local neighbourhoods and the amenities we have within closer reach of home.

In Headington, as in other Oxford neighbourhoods, it was often our local businesses that were quickest to adapt and come through for us in the depths of lockdown. In some cases, this has changed our travel and shopping habits for good, with many people now choosing to keep it local.

With more of us now working from home more often, we’ve also increasingly come to appreciate the importance of our local community and nearby green spaces for our physical and mental well-being.

What’s a 15-minute neighbourhood?

The concept of 15-minute neighbourhoods is that the amenities that are most important to you are within a 15-minute walk of your home.

Here, you can hear a short explanation from Paul Chatterton, Professor of Urban Futures at the University of Leeds (audio only):

A step back in time

Long-time Headington residents will know that the concept of 15-minute neighbourhoods is actually nothing new. The History section of Headington News documents the large variety of shops and amenities that were once dotted around Headington’s streets.

Before the houses on the London Road were turned into shops, the three villages of Headington each once had a high street of shops: New High Street, Old High Street, and Quarry High Street. One resident told us that Rumbelows on the London Road once lent her a trolley so she could wheel her new fridge home!

It never used to be anything unusual to walk round the corner to buy daily supplies, but as amenities became increasingly spread out and we started to drive to shops further away, many of the small local shops people remember faded away.

However, we still have many wonderful shops and amenities in our immediate vicinity and 15-minute neighbourhoods are about celebrating them.

What’s most important to you?

CoHSAT is a group of voluntary and campaigning organisations working across Oxfordshire to create attractive, accessible and people-friendly streets. You can find out more about its aims and member organisations here.

Now CoHSAT would like to find out what people in different localities in Oxfordshire consider the most important amenities, so has created a survey asking people to identify the amenities that matter most to them, and those that are important, but less vital.

The survey is open to anyone living in Oxfordshire and closes on 19 December 2021. You can find out more and take part in the survey here:

Neighbourhoods survey - CoHSAT
15 Min Neighbourhoods Survey The concept of a 15-minute neighbourhood (15MN) is that the amenities that are most important to you are within a 15-minute walk of your home. This is a developing concept and there is little evidence of what constitutes the ‘most important amenities’ for people in diffe…

Further reading on 15-minute neighbourhoods:

What is a 15-minute neighbourhood?
The legacy of lockdown could promote a place-making revolution in urban planning. Mark Sutcliffe investigates the 15-minute city model