What’s New in Future City Science: Sustainable City

♻️ What’s New in Future City Science: Sustainable City ♻️

Öpik Conference Center, room Universum, Valukoja 8/1
May 13 at 13:15–15:00

Register here ➡️ https://shorturl.at/eouwW

Overview ⬇️

In the current urban debate circling around sustainability and the quality of urban life, one cannot have missed the popular idea of 15-minute cities supposedly solving many urban challenges from car dependence and the qualitative degeneration of urban environments to poor health and dissolving communities. The core idea, which mainly draws from 19th-century utopian urban theories such as the Garden City, is to ensure by planning that anyone’s access to vital services does not exceed 15 minutes on foot or by bike (or in some approaches, by public transport). In other words, the objective is to revive qualities often associated with the positive aspects of the ‘traditional’ walkable Central European city centers. While there is a lot of positive aims coupled with this thinking, for science’s sake, this buzz makes us ask: is the 15-minute city indeed a panacea for reaching sustainable cities, a hardly implementable, unrealistic ideology, a promising yet developing framework, or something else?

In our upcoming seminar, we will explore different viewpoint and practical possibilities to proceed with this ubiquitous meshwork of positive thinking.


◾️ 13:15–13:30 Prof. Jenni Partanen (TalTech): Conceptual roadmaps for vibrant cities

Previously in these seminars, we have discussed Urban Vitality within the context of cities as complex, dynamic systems shaped by the interplay of plans and autonomous self-organization. Here, I want to contrast this approach, based on enabling and guiding autonomous processes, with the famous x-minute approaches originating in the idealistic, goal-oriented, top-down Garden Cities. While these two approaches superficially resemble each other, their foundation differs conceptually. The former implies an enabling, genotypic approach supporting local unique autonomous processes, while the latter is more involved with a phenotypic thinking, providing an ’ideal city’ for all. With this contrast, I aim to stimulate interest in bridging these two approaches.

◾️ 13:30–13:50 Dr. Najmeh Mozaffaree Pour (TalTech): Discovering the “15-Minute City” Concept, a Pathway towards Sustainability

In recent years, urban planning has increasingly focused on sustainability, resilience, inclusive and human-oriented planning, with growing interest in the 15-Minute City concept. The concept of 15-minute city revolves around fostering more livable, sustainable, and resilient urban environments by ensuring that residents can easily access their daily needs within a 15-min’ walk or bike ride from their homes. I aim to explore the 15-Minute City concept as a pathway towards sustainability by introducing its core principles and historical roots in urban planning theories. I will provide a real-world examination of Tallinn’s alignment with the 15-Minute City concept through the lens of accessibility and proximity. Moreover, I will talk about the implementation phases of 15-minute city.

◾️ 13:50–14:10 Prof. Anssi Joutsiniemi (University of Oulu, Aalto University): X-minutes cities and urban realism. A critical perspective.

The transformative yet challenging concept of the 15-minute city posits that essentials of daily life should be just a short walk or cycle away. This analysis critically examines the reality behind the appealing theory, informed by recent urban developments in the Helsinki metropolitan area. Despite its popularity, the 15-minute city model often reveals a significant discrepancy between its promised benefits—sustainability and community connectivity—and the actual outcomes in urban areas. Case studies are dissected to show potential gaps between ideals and practical implementation, particularly in addressing socio-economic disparities and ecological sustainability. The analysis aims to uncover the complexities and contradictions of applying this model in diverse urban settings, providing a clear, nuanced perspective on its impact on modern city planning.

◾️ 14:10–14:30 Dr Kristi Grisakov (City of Tallinn): Tallinn as a 15-minutes city: implementation and challenges

The presentation will focus on the practical application and associated challenges of the x-minute city concept in Tallinn. The city has been restructuring its urban planning strategies and guidelines to support the goals of the x-minute city. However, this approach requires reliable urban data, consensus on key metrics, and agreement on which services should be included in the x-minute framework. Implementation becomes more complex when considering future (spatial) planning decisions and reasoning, the pace of various urban developments (including those by private owners), and the city’s ability to strategically plan and address service gaps.

◾️ 14:30–15:00 Discussion

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