’20 minute neighbourhoods’ are places that are designed so residents can meet their day-to-day needs within a 20 minute walk of their home; through access to safe walking and cycling routes, or by public transport.

Many places around the world have made commitments or drawn up plans to support the realisation of the concept. However, only a few  have made 20 minute neighbourhoods a reality.

The Programme for Government 2020 commits the Scottish Government to working with local government and other partners to take forward ambitions for 20 minute neighbourhoods in Scotland.

This project:

  • considers the ambition for 20 minute neighbourhoods in Scotland, taking account of the differing settlement patterns across the country, and to highlight interventions that would support delivery of the concept, supported by findings from the baseline analysis; and
  • analyses international evidence of the success of interventions to achieve these ambitions, including identifying specific success factors, place-making impacts, barriers to success, regulatory frameworks, funding mechanisms and stakeholder engagement and buy-in.
Key findings

A baseline assessment shows that communities across Scotland have the required services and infrastructure that would allow them to be 20 minute neighbourhoods. This is the case across both urban and rural settlement areas. 

However, the assessment does not allow for the conclusion that the required quality of services or infrastructure is in place. Nor does it conclude that these places are performing as 20 minute neighbourhoods.

From the examples reviewed it is evident that a clear plan with bespoke local considerations is needed to achieve the vision. It is also clear that this plan must be people-centred and developed with the stakeholders in the community.

The report sets out five initial ambitions for developing 20 minute neighbourhoods in Scotland:

  1. Scotland has the opportunity to be a global leader in delivering this concept across the country, showing that it is feasible in both urban and rural locations
  2. Every neighbourhood in Scotland should be facilitated to be a 20 minute neighbourhood
  3. Communities should be empowered to make changes in their neighbourhoods to allow them to meet their daily needs in a fair and equitable way
  4. This concept should enable people to travel actively in support of their health and well-being, without access being limited by the cost of transport
  5. The 20 minute neighbourhood concept should be the ambition that pulls together all other relevant policies in a given location

These ambitions can only be realised through concerted efforts across policy, national and local delivery, and further research.

Webinar: 20-minute neighbourhoods: climate, travel and health benefits

Watch a webinar with speakers from Ramboll, Transport Scotland, Public Health Scotland & Scottish Government discussing the climate, travel & health benefits of 20-minute neighbourhoods:

Watch webinar