What do people really want from their neighbourhoods and cities? 20-minute city thinking.
Wednesday 09 November 2022

There is growing discussion of the 15/20 minute city/neighbourhood concept as a means to reduce carbon emissions, increase liveability, or make local economies more resilient, but how do we translate this agenda from a top-down technical expert exercise, to one that recognises difference and equity?

In this talk, Dr White shared findings from a national survey conducted in Aotearoa New Zealand in 2020, which aimed to provide evidence on these issues, and so provide insights on what people want from good planning. Iain discussed various data from the national survey, such as which amenities people prefer to live closer to, how much time people will travel for various amenities, and how this differs between walking, cycling or micro-mobility, between populations, and between time of day. This could be of interest to policy-makers looking for evidence to inform city/regional strategies, or how to temper growth imperatives with a parallel focus on growing well and navigating the difficult local politics involved with urban change.

Iain White teaches at the University of Waikato where he has been Professor of Environmental Planning since 2013 and is currently the Associate Dean Research for Arts, Law, Psychology and Social Science. Prior to this he was the Director of the Centre for Urban and Regional Ecology at the University of Manchester in the UK. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia, and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Manchester (2022-2024). In 2020 he won the University of Waikato Vice Chancellor’s award for Research Excellence and in 2021 the New Zealand Planning Institute John Mawson Award of Merit.

He is also the Co-Chair of the Australasian Cities Research network and Chair of the Hamilton Arts Trust, which designs and organises the successful BOON Street Art festivals. He is the author of four books. ‘Environmental Planning in Context’ (2015), ‘Water and the City’ (2010) published by Routledge. His most recent books are: The Routledge Companion to Environmental Planning (2019), with Prof Simin Davoudi, Prof Hilda Blanco, and Richard Cowell; and Why Plan? Theory for Practitioners (2019) with Prof Graham Haughton (University of Manchester, UK). He has over 50 peer reviewed articles or book chapters. He has led or co-led over 20 research projects, many of which are within multi-million dollar programmes. He is currently leading teams of researchers in the National Science Challenge: Resilience to Natures Challenges ($40m, 2019-2024), and also the MBIE Endeavour project ‘Reducing flood inundation hazard and risk across Aotearoa-New Zealand’ ($15.5m, 2020-2025). To support this approach he is also active in science communication and engagement. He is a TEDx speaker and often presents to stakeholders, chairs public debates, and has frequently been interviewed by the press, including for The Guardian, BBC TV, BBC Radio, TVNZ, Stuff, The NZ Herald, The Spinoff, Dominion Post, The New York Times, and RadioNZ.

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