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New map shows how close Seattle is to being a 15-minute city

It’s nice living close to things.


There are no such things as traffic jams on the sidewalk.

Photo by @amyjani

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Convenientit’s such a nice word. And being able to use it to describe where we live sounds pretty sweet.

A 15-minute city is a relatively new concept out of Paris that suggests we should all be able to live where essentials like rapid transit, grocery stores, and schools are a 15-minute walk or bike away.

Local policymakers have have begun exploring the plan more seriously in recent years — and a new map by geographer and public health researcher Nat Henry shows how close we are to that reality.

What’s on the map

Nat’s map uses color-coding to show how close different neighborhood areas are to services like light rail stations, libraries, and parks. It can be used to look at the disbursement of one amenity at a time or all of them together if you’re a big picture kind of person.

Where we did well

More than 99% of Seattleites live within a 15-minute walk of a park — perfect for those gorgeous summer days and a great follow-up to #WalkToAParkDay Seattle celebrated on Oct. 10.

About 97% of the city is also within a 15-minute walk to a bus stop that connects to downtown (traffic jam, who?).

As for neighborhoods, 99% of people downtown, in the Chinatown-International District, and Pioneer Square lives within 15-minute walk or bike ride of a supermarket, library, park, bus stop to downtown, a restaurant, and a coffee shop.

Where we could improve

On the downside, only 44% of the city lives within a 15-minute walk of all of the aforementioned amenities. In addition, only 15% lives near a high school and 18% lives near a middle school (62% of us lives near an elementary school, though).

Meanwhile, 18 neighborhoods weren’t close to any of the amenities Nat’s map included. So we’re not quite a 15-minute city yet.

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