Pollutionwatch: how livable zones can tackle air pollution

One quarter of car journeys in England and Wales are less than 3km. Nearly two-thirds are less than 8km. Converting these journeys to walking, cycling or public transport could tackle air pollution, climate change emissions, urban noise and chronic health problems from lack of everyday exercise.

Luxembourg is introducing free public transport and Manchester is building a walking and cycle network, but declining town centres, dividing cities into separate zones for home, business and retail, and allowing out-of-town development can tie people to journeys for everyday tasks.

Last month, the Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, announced plans for 15-minute neighbourhoods – placing amenities and services within a quarter-hour walk, cycle or public transport trip.

As part of its climate action Portland, Oregon, plans for 90% of residents to be able to walk or cycle for daily, non-work needs, and Melbourne, Australia, plans 20-minute neighbourhoods to combat the car dependency induced by sprawling suburbs.

London’s livable neighbourhoods , with redesigned streets and reduced speed limits, increased weekly cycling by 18% and walking by 13%, and decreased air pollution too. But this is not just for big cities. The street plans of older market towns in UK and Europe can easily adapt to 20-minute neighbourhoods too.


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