The Fifteen Minute City / Facilitating Urban Proximity – Revisiting the Basics – Arun Jain

Part of the UDG and AoU joint Symposium ‘The Fifteen Minute City’

Arun Jain, FAICP, Urban Designer, Urban Strategist

Words like sustainability, green, and resilience are highly generalized concepts that are wide open to interpretation. In a similar vein, the idea of the 15-minute city is a fungible notion that usually alludes to easy (meaning walkable) access within a short distance from home or work.

Clearly what is possible in a 15-minute walk radius in a downtown is vastly different than that in a suburb. Our ability to leverage positive change in each setting depends on community size, its governance model, the prevailing level of planning sophistication, and the ability to leverage change itself (i.e. public consensus, political will, and financing).

In a Covid world, the “new normal” is far from settled. Many of our traditional assumptions and best practices are likely to be questioned. This session asks us to consider the circumstances in which this aspect of liveability can continue to be enhanced, despite the profound uncertainties.

Arun Jain is a US and Indian educated urban designer and urban strategist with over three decades of international experience in practice and academia. He is currently the Chief Urban Designer & Principal Planner for the City of Bellevue, Washington.

Arun has planned, designed, and directly influenced over 90 new private and public projects with a combined investment capital of over US $14 billion. He has spoken in over 100 major keynotes, conferences, seminars, and workshops. He has held academic positions at six universities with contributions in print and digital media.

His many notable roles include: Guest Professor, Technical University of Berlin; Strategic Planning Advisor to the Indian State of Karnataka (pop. 64 million); and Portland, Oregon’s first Chief Urban Designer. He is a frequent advisor to the United Nations.

Arun’s long-standing interests revolve around strategies for complex and uncertain futures. He sees the early creation of “soft infrastructure” as an essential basis for resilient communities.

Arun is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

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