A new survey on the City’s Engage Ottawa website needs our input as City planning staff moves forward with its vision for our future. The City survey questions deal with the 15-minute neighbourhood, one of the core concepts for the new Official Plan.
The survey asks residents to prioritize the importance of things like schools, clinics, parks and transit. It takes more than access to services to make a neighbourhood a viable, livable 15-minute community though.
You can go beyond the options presented and provide your personal input on how to build community and how to address city-wide issues like climate change at the community level. There is space for additional comments under “other” at the end of each survey question.
There are many contributing factors to creating successful 15-minute neighbourhoods.
Policies that encourage incorporating local employment and work spaces in neighbourhoods would help build complete 15- minute communities while putting a dent in both commuting and polluting.
Allowing corner stores in designated parts of all neighbourhoods would encourage people to walk or bike when they need just a few items, reducing car trips to the grocery store.
Provisions for inter-generational living options and for affordable housing would foster a sense of community and increase diversity in all neighbourhoods.
Having a mix of housing types including single family homes as well as duplexes and triplexes in each neighbourhood’s core provides residents with choices. Small, low-rise walk-up apartments on community-defined corridor streets can further increase housing options. Mid-rise residential buildings on main streets, if these are adequately stepped back to allow for sunlight and sky views, can also add to a vibrant community.
Prioritizing green environments by increasing the tree canopy and soft- landscaped areas would help address the urban heat island effect and climate change issues.
Increasing waste recycling and disposal in public areas would be a step toward reducing littering. Traffic-calming measures, local energy co-generation projects—the possibilities go on.
Let City planners know what matters most to you by taking the 15-minute neighbourhood survey. Our responses will inform the Official Plan process.
Please take a few minutes and complete the survey by clicking on the “complete the survey” link on the City’s explanatory webpage.
The survey closes on September 4, 2020.
While the survey centers around “your neighbourhood”, adding comments that expound on what you think ought to be a part of neighbourhoods in general builds a better Ottawa for all of us.
One of the biggest challenges in creating a city of 15-minute neighbourhoods will be retrofitting existing car-centric suburban neighbourhoods.
What might that look like? We don’t have all the answers, but many well-tested, time-proven strategies and tenable solutions already exist. They can be found in successful, stable neighbourhoods such as our own Old Ottawa South.
This article will appear in the September 2020 OSCAR.