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Redefining Urban Access: The 30-Minute City Concept


The concept of the 30-Minute City is revolutionising urban planning by Prioritising accessibility and efficiency. This innovative approach was the focus of a compelling discussion led by Professor David Levinson of the University of Sydney, during a recent event sponsored by AcademyGlobal (AG). The session explored how strategic urban design could significantly enhance access to essential services across cities with minimal environmental impact.

Understanding the 30-Minute City:

At its core, the 30-Minute City concept advocates for a design where all urban residents can reach necessary services and employment within a half-hour commute by any mode of transport. This design strategy aims to decentralise resources, fostering a balanced distribution of opportunities and reducing urban sprawl.

Historical Insights and Modern Challenges:

Professor David drew intriguing parallels between the tram systems of early 20th century Sydney and today’s urban planning challenges. He highlighted how past infrastructure decisions continue to influence modern urban landscapes, emphasising the importance of learning from historical urban accessibility to inform future designs.

Leveraging Technology for Urban Planning:

The advancements in technology such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are crucial in mapping current urban layouts and identifying areas lacking in accessibility. These tools are invaluable for urban planners aiming to implement the 30-Minute City model effectively, allowing for a data-driven approach to enhance city livability and sustainability.

The Role of Accessibility in Urban Opportunities:

Access in urban contexts translates directly to opportunities for residents—be it jobs, education, or healthcare. Professor Levinson stressed that improving transportation networks and reducing travel times are pivotal in maximising these opportunities, thereby enhancing the overall quality of urban life.

Future Directions for Urban Development:

The application of the 30-Minute City principles could mark a significant shift in how cities are designed and function. The need for a collaborative approach involving urban planners, technology experts, and policymakers is critical to create inclusive, efficient, and sustainable urban environments.


The event “Designing the 30-Minute City” provided valuable insights into the interplay between urban design and accessibility. Professor David Levinson’s expertise offered a clear roadmap for integrating historical perspectives with cutting-edge technology to build cities that are not only accessible but also environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive. This blog aims to resonate with individuals passionate about urban development and sustainable city planning, emphasising the transformative potential of the 30-Minute City concept.