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An image of a pedestrian standing under an umbrella at nighttime. The glare from street lights and buildings are reflected in puddles. A beautiful urban image at night. BBC Panorama's 15 Minute City.

News BBC Panorama’s 15-minute City 2023- ‘Low Traffic Neighbourhoods’

6 November 2023 Holly Eckersley

The 15-minute city is an urban planning concept which re-imagines city spaces, ensuring that a range of local amenities are accessible by a short walk or bike ride. Cities are re-visioned as a range of micro-villages where everything residents need can be easily accessed, such as a deli, coffee shop, supermarket, a gym, job opportunities, medical centres and green spaces. This in turn encourages a sense of community and an improvement to the quality of life of residents, as each district has everything that its inhabitants would need for a full and rich life. This concept was the subject of recent BBC investigative news programme, Panorama. Justin Rowlatt reported on ‘Low Traffic Neighbourhoods’ and the intricacies of the debate.

A man sat at his laptop with a cappuccino in his hands. An image of working from home in comfort. BBC Panorama's 15 Minute City.

The Concept of the 15- Minute City

Clarence Perry devised the concept of the ‘neighbourhood unit’ in the 1900’s, which inspired planning movements such as ‘New Urbanism’ and ‘transit-oriented development’, which have gained popularity recently in Australia. In 2019 Carlos Moreno took seeds from these development concepts that prioritised the needs of residents and developed the idea of the 15-minute city. Moreno focused on the everyday lived experience of city inhabitants and how the need for groceries and recreational spaces were far more important than museums and car free zones. He suggested that de-centralising city spaces, focusing on economic development across cityscapes and spending resources on cycle lanes, paths and public transport links, would collectively make cleaner and greener urban areas. Due to the development of more walkable urban places, the goal would be to reduce longer work commutes and to encourage residents to favour other means of travel instead of car journeys.

However, the BBC Panorama programme highlights some concerns regarding low traffic neighbourhoods and the restriction of freedom on residents. The concern was that changes to road infrastructure would refocus inhabitants too much on their local communities.

An image of a city skyline at night. Clusters of high-rise buildings dominate this landscape and blue hued lights give this image a striking appearance. BBC's Panorama: 15 minute city.

How Can Time-Lapse Promote This Concept

Time-lapse photography offers a visual time-stamped record of the progress of a project and how it has developed. This is a fabulous marketing tool for urban planners, local councils, as-well as construction and demolition contractors to showcase their work. Time-Lapse offers an efficient visual tool to update and communicate to interested parties. As a new post-pandemic vision of urban living is emerging, the everyday needs of the local population are the central concern for many planners when the urban landscape is re-visioned. Time-lapse is the perfect media to document this re-development in urban areas as it effectively tells the story of a project and articulates the context of work carried out.

We have captured a range of projects that act to highlight the changing city.

One such project was the Riverlight project we captured for St James in Battersea. This development included a range of restaurants, community recreational spaces, public walkways, an art centre, fitness and health spas and a range of shops and supermarkets, allowing residents to access the vast majority of things they need locally.

We have also captured development work on Prince of Wales Drive for St Williams Homes. Our cameras have documented a range of stunning high-rise apartment buildings being constructed, with a range of local amenities and travel links on the doorstep, which also offer views of the London skyline.

An image taken from one of Time-Lapse Systems' cameras showing development work at Whitehall.

An image taken from Time-Lapse Systems’ iRis viewer showing development work for St Williams Homes on Prince of Wales Drive. BBC Panorama’s 15- Minute City.

As the UK’s leading provider of Time-Lapse Systems we have the expertise to deliver the best quality work for our clients. Please look at other examples of projects we have captured for, and contact our team to discuss in further detail our services.



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Time-Lapse Systems are a part of Hideaway Media Ltd (est. 2007). World leader in the provision of bespoke time-lapse capture and site monitoring solutions. UK and Worldwide.