20 minute neighbourhoods and smart cities

Incorrect information has been circulating in the Dandenongs and surrounds in early-2023, around the concept of a 20 minute neighbourhood, and technologies used by Councils.

The concept behind 20 minute neighbourhoods is simple – communities are designed to make sure everything you need day-to-day is close to home and a walkable distance away.

The intent is for people to be able to move about easily and freely without being burdened by excessive travel or costly transport options. It improves movement and access, rather than preventing it. 

In your community, you should be able to access any service you need easily, whether you drive or not.

Previously, towns have been designed over time to be very car-focused and forgot about people, which often resulted in sprawling urban areas that started taking over valuable agricultural and natural landscape spaces and left vulnerable community members isolated.

In an ideal community, all of your services – supermarkets, stores, doctors, community hubs – should be accessible within 20 minutes, however you get around.

Having walkable towns means that people who drive can still get around easily, but so can younger people or those who choose or need to walk, ride or use a mobility device. It has a positive flow-on for physical health and making people feel connected with their communities.

We’re working towards ensuring our towns are accessible for everyone, which means some detailed planning – this is where projects like the Warburton and Monbulk Urban Design Frameworks come in.

Planning out how we want towns to look – in terms of buildings and how they relate to streets, parks and open spaces – helps us to get there, and means our next generations will be better set up with welcoming and attractive hearts for our communities

Council has no plans to restrict movement in the Yarra Ranges for anyone, through this or other town planning initiatives. 

Smart cities technology

Sometimes technology can be used to understand where there is congestion on a path or road network or an intersection.

They can also help Council improve our services for community by using sensors to notify us when a bin is full or when a drain is blocked, helping to stop litter entering waterways and flooding.

There is never any personal information or identifying information collected in these ‘smart cities’ solutions, but they do improve our townships.