Supporting more diverse neighbourhood centres to reduce the need to travel

The ‘10 Minute City’ concept in Ballarat reflects a general desire expressed by the community to maintain existing levels of access to destinations and services even when the city grows over time. Ballarat is currently a ‘10 Minute City’. At non-peak times it is possible to reach most areas from the centre of town within a 10 minute drive by car. Access to local shops, schools, services and facilities are also very good. That level of accessibility is valued by the community. The challenge over the next 30 years is to maintain that accessibility as the population swells by over 60,000 people and congestion inevitably increases. Planning for a range of transport options is a key element to ensure Ballarat remains a ’10 Minute City”.

Provision of a wider range of services in local activity centres will be supported. The ability to access more daily needs, locally, reduces the need to travel across the city and limits the impact of congestion on daily trips. Options to encourage increased diversity in local centres are currently under investigation with Council’s Economic Development Unit. Planning for community services in local centres is also extremely important, and mechanisms are also under review.

Improve local access to encourage walking and cycling

Making local neighbourhood centres better connected, safer and easier to access can increase the number of residents preferring to walking or cycling to their neighbourhood centre or destination. A high quality cycle route, for example, can provide access to a local school within 10 minutes for a far greater number of children than a link which is difficult to follow, indirect or interrupted. These kinds of accessibility improvements reduce barriers to non-car based travel, and encourage more physical activity and greater social inclusion. Activity in a street also helps with passive surveillance and improved feelings of public safety. The concept of ‘neighbourhood links’ is discussed in the next section.

Making strategic planning decisions based on the ’10 Minute City’ principle

More generally, the ’10 Minute City’ principle is proposed to underpin decision-making on a wide range of land use decisions. It seeks to support ongoing development of a city that promotes good access to diverse local centres for residents and visitors of all ages and abilities, and discourages patterns of growth or dispersed patterns of development which are dislocated from local centres. Greenfield developments in isolated areas, for example, do not enable future residents to enjoy the benefits of the ’10 Minute City’ and should be discouraged. Holistic planning of new suburbs will ensure provision for parks, schools, infrastructure and services are made as communities develop. Options and mechanisms to reinforce this principle are under currently under investigation.