Living the 15-minute city — The Prague perspective


The Delegation of Prague to the EU and the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR Prague) organized a presentation and a panel discussion titled „Living the 15-minute City — The Prague Perspective“. The primary focus of the event was the very current and pressing issue of public amenities and their availability to city dwellers. This concept recently rediscovered and since widely discussed under the names of “15-minute city” or “city of short distances”, proposes that all inhabitants should be able to satisfy their basic needs within a reasonable distance (15 minutes) on foot or by bike. The goal of the event was to show the way the city of Prague promotes the principles in its urban and strategic planning.

Zdeňka Havlová, the head of the Office for City Analysis at IPR Prague, presented two projects that are currently underway, and both aim to help understand where Prague needs improving to become a better city to live in. The Population and Public Amenities Projections for Prague project serves as an important source material for urban planning documents, urban studies, development projects, decision-making, and funding allocation by the departments of the City Hall. In it, basic amenities, such as kindergartens, primary schools, general practitioners, clinics, senior houses, community centres, libraries, parks, children's playgrounds, cemeteries and grocery stores are analysed. The study evaluates whether the inhabitants of Prague have individual amenities within walking distance now and will in the future, up to the year 2050, when we consider the future expected population growth.

In the second presented project, the 15min Prague Application, Dr. Havlová introduced an online tool currently in development, where anyone can analyse Prague as a 15min city themselves. By overlapping all the amenities’ deficits with residential density and the quality of the street network, it will be easy to pinpoint key areas to improve. Every user can calibrate the parameters to address their particular responsibilities in the city.

The presentation was followed by a round table moderated by Jaromír Hainc, the head of the Department of Urban Development at IPR Prague. Next to him and Zdeňka Havlová, the speakers included Zdeněk Hřib, the Deputy Mayor of the City of Prague, Elisa Donders from, and Pietro Reviglio from Eurocities. The speakers, as well as the audience, agreed that the issue of providing basic amenities is very important for contemporary cities. It is not only a question of convenience and services but also of alleviating traffic congestion and building necessary transport infrastructure. The speakers also discussed the fact that some amenities require different times and distances to be accessible, which is what IPR Prague introduced in the presentation. Finally, the attendees were asked whether they believed Brussels was a 15-minute city – and the answer was a firm yes.