The drive to establish a city of 20-minute neighbourhoods in Melbourne is transforming the way people live in their local communities and reaping positive impacts for the environment and the economy.
Introduced by the Victorian Minister for Planning in 2018, Plan Melbourne’s 20-minute neighbourhood pilot program is all about living locally – giving people the ability to access basic living essentials within a 20-minute walk, cycle or public transport trip of their home.
First home buyer and Bloomdale resident Stephen Gochman said the thoughtful community design in Diggers Rest allows him and his partner to access most of what they need within 20 minutes of their home, without having to travel into the CBD.
“My fiancé and I regularly walk around the community, chatting and waving to neighbours along the way. We also walk to the onsite café Fifteen Bar for brunch once a week and are slowly eating our way through the menu,” said Mr Gochman.
“The local shops and train station are two minutes away, so we have everything we need on our doorstep.”
Mr Gochman said it was features that encourage wellbeing, such as the local landscape, walkability, Bloomdale Oval and access to fitness equipment that motivated the couple to call Bloomdale home.
“The landscape surrounding Bloomdale is a feature that sets it apart from other estates in the area. You look out west to see the Macedon Ranges and you can smell the fresh air that flows down from the mountains and it makes you want to get outside,” said Mr Gochman.
“The Bloomdale fitness park is a 20-metre stroll from my house and there’s a basketball ring a little further down the road that I use when I feel like shooting some hoops.”
AVID Property Group (AVID) Victoria General Manager Peter Vlitas said the Group’s Bloomdale development, as well as its Savana community in Wyndham Vale and Hillstowe in Officer, were all carefully considered to ensure walkability and convenient access to local amenities both inside and out of the community.
“AVID is passionate about creating communities that people love and developing a sense of place. The concept of the 20-minute neighbourhood makes perfect sense as it promotes a healthy lifestyle where people incorporate incidental exercise into their everyday routine,” said Mr Vlitas.
“In the communities we design and build, residents have access to established education, quality health services, retail outlets, public transport and amenities such as parks and green space, all within a 20-minute commute.
“Walking to the park, cycling to the local shop or using park and ride options when catching public transport all help achieve the Heart Foundation’s recommended 30 minutes of activity each day.”
Neighbourhoods with infrastructure to encourage active travel provide more than just health benefits for locals but also support the economy.
According to the Victorian Government, if we replaced 50 per cent of short car trips with walking we could save $165 million a year in congestion, infrastructure, health and environmental costs. 1
“Aside from the cost benefits, encouraging people to live more locally helps to create stronger community ties and that’s what we’re all about,” said Mr Vlitas.
1 Badawi, Y, Maclean, F, and Mason, B, (2018). The economic case for investment in walking, Victoria Walks, Melbourne.