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Hiking Sustainability via Walkable Cities

Mandy Qian • 08/11/2023
Cushman & Wakefield today released its Hiking Sustainability via Walkable Cities report for the APAC region at the 6th China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai. The report examines how urban planning plays an important role in responding to lifestyle changes and climate change, and promotes workable transformation in terms of the 15-minute city concept, balanced urban public space, transit-oriented development (TOD), ecological solutions, net-zero buildings and other approaches to bring about beneficial change and the creation of a sustainable urban environment. 
The 15-Minute City
The walkable 15-minute city is a fresh concept that requires cities to be planned in such a way whereby citizens of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities in all parts of the urban area are able to gain access to their daily needs within the distance of a 15-minute walk or bicycle ride. The concept also champions a city which has a plethora of walkable self-sustaining livable neighborhoods and fewer private automobiles.
Urban Public Space
When specifically considering urban public space in the Asia Pacific region in relation to sustainable 15-minute city urban environs, the aim for local governments is to generate all-inclusive citizen-friendly settings that are also economically workable. It’s not just a matter of simply planning, designing and incorporating a public space which is accessible by a short walk; ideally it must be a placemaking approach that produces community ownership of public spaces from space planning to space operation and management. Ultimately, the approach adopted should produce a public space which a 15-minute walkable community and visitors alike wish to be active in and wish to spend time in again and again
Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)
TOD essentially maximizes the amount of residential, business and leisure space within walking distance of public transport. It also encourages an interdependent bond between compact urban development and public transportation. Moreover, TOD aspires to increase public transport usage by lessening the use of automobiles, which in turn augments environmental sustainability within the urban area.
Ecological Solutions
One urban planning model which can certainly assist in this, and which is being adopted and implemented in Asia Pacific is ecological-oriented development (EOD). Following on from this, according to MIT and its 10 directional principles for EOD, one important principle is the maximization of on-site food production, and the Asia Pacific region is also seriously looking to this when it comes to 15-minute city planning and urban agriculture.
Net Zero Buildings
In Asia Pacific, the urban built environment is one of the principal sources of GHG emissions in the region. In order to reduce the amount of energy used by, and carbon emissions from, buildings in the Asia Pacific region, including buildings in walkable 15-minute city precincts, it will be important to take the next step and go carbon neutral, which requires a ‘carbon balance’ to be established.
Matthew Clifford, Head of Sustainability & ESG, Asia Pacific, Cushman & Wakefield said, “Across Asia Pacific, including in 15-minute city precincts, we must strive to aggressively reduce energy and carbon emissions, targeting carbon neutrality or better. Multiple-use buildings — a critical feature of a 15-minute city — create significant opportunity to accommodate a mix of living and commercial space, improve sustainability performance, and promote walkability.
Shaun Brodie, Head of Research Content, Greater China, Cushman & Wakefield said, “To hike sustainability and bring about beneficial urban environmental sustainability change that results in walkable sustainable urban environs, one concept cities in Asia Pacific can look to adopt and implement is the ‘15-minute city’ concept. For cities in the APAC region, the connected 15-minute city plan enables cities to further enhance their city livability credentials, while at the same time further reducing energy use and carbon emissions as they travel the path to carbon neutrality.”
Please click here to download the full report
About Cushman & Wakefield
Cushman & Wakefield (NYSE: CWK) is a leading global commercial real estate services firm for property owners and occupiers with approximately 52,000 employees in approximately 400 offices and 60 countries. In Greater China, a network of 23 offices serves local markets across the region. In 2022, the firm reported global revenue of US$10.1 billion across its core services of valuation, consulting, project & development services, capital markets, project & occupier services, industrial & logistics, retail, and others. It also receives numerous industry and business accolades for its award-winning culture and commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and more. For additional information, visit or follow @CushWake on Twitter.


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