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The 15-Minute City concept gains tracking.

The 15-Minute City Concept Gains Traction

The-15-Minute City concept is gaining traction around the world as a placemaking tactic and means to enhance quality of life.   Although “city” is used in this coined term, this planning concept is more about a focus on livable neighborhoods and districts.

 

The “15-minute city” is a term for urban design and master planning wherein it is possible to meet the basic “needs of living” within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from a person’s home.  The needs of living include such services and amenities as:

 

  • Places of work, or, at least a coworking venue;
  • Grocers;
  • Pharmacies;
  • Schools for children, youth;
  • Health care or medical facilities, or simply, doctor and dentist offices;
  • Recreation, leisure and/or green spaces; at least a pocket or linear park;
  • Cultural venues;
  • Mass transit accessibility;
  • Affordable housing is assumed;
  • Flexible zoning to allow places with different day-part uses, such as local school facility that can be a community gathering place at night or on weekends; and
  • Places of worship are seldom mentioned as part of the 15-Minute City concept, but such places may be among the most successful community-building forces that have existed.

 

 

The planning term was first coined by by Prof. Carlos Moreno, a professor at Sorbonne University (Paris, France).  Prof. Moreno is the director of entrepreneurship and innovation at The Sorbonne.  Though popularized by the professor, the 15-Minute City concept itself  has been explored in major cities throughout the world from Melbourne to Portland, prior to its burgeoning popularity as an planning concept.

 

During 2020, the 15-Minute City concept has surged in interest as a sturdy planning concept alongside the increasing acceptance of coworking facilities and communities.   Coworking venues situated in close proximity to homes simply adds an additional destination within a 15-minute “neighborhood” that is vital within a 15-minute radii.

 

The 15-Minute City concept is a multi-faceted placemaking tactic.

Another aspect of making the 15-Minute City concept workable is the presence of affordable housing within each 15-Minute City cluster.  Many neighborhoods and districts around the world may work well for most required services and work places, but do not have the array of housing choices necessary.

 

Integrating the 15-Minute City concept with allied planning concepts is particularly interesting to local governments charged with numerous quality of life objectives and economic development initiatives.   A 15-Minute City imperative, as an example, is also deemed helpful in reducing the use of fossil fuels (vehicles), fighting carbon emissions, and thereby fighting climate change.  Also, applying the 15-Minute City thresholds of accessibility also advances the objectives for some groups in reversing local zoning codes to allow increased affordable housing options and thereby, more diversity, inclusion, and social justice.

 

The 15-Minute City concept has created such interest that purpose-built apps have been created to evaluate any particular location for 15-Minute City thresholds. Here Technologies (Eindhoven, Netherlands) is one such company that has created this kind of threshold’s map to answer the question – Do You Live in a 15-Minute City? We expect that the 15-Minute City parameters and software applications that track such notions, will join similar concepts as a niche investment asset class among those pursuing environmental, social, and governmental investments (so-called ESG Investing).

REI's New Product Impact Standards

REI’s New Product Impact Standards

REI’s new Product Impact Standards for 2021, now include diversity, equity, and inclusion requirements for companies wanting REI shelf space.   The standards include the retailer’s core requirements as well as optional preferred attributes.   REI is an American retail and outdoor recreation services corporation, organized as a consumers’ co-operative.  The retailer sells sporting goods, camping gear, travel equipment, and clothing, as well as outdoor-oriented experiences, recreation activities, and courses.

 

Back in 2018, REI had originally devised its product standards to focus on ethical production practices and sustainability.  As part of this update, REI has also added two new programs to its list of preferred attributes—a collection of voluntary business certifications that vendor brands are encouraged to pursue, such as for certifications for aspects of climate and environmental stewardship, chemicals management, and animal welfare.

 

REI’s product impact standards are part of the emerging interest among global investors to evaluate environmental, social and governance issues (so called ESG Investing) when investing and operating.   REI’s dedication to sustainable and ethical production, diversity, equity, and inclusion are precisely what ESG Investing seeks to encourage.

 

According to an article by SNEWS, the outdoor recreation retailer consulted with brands of various sizes and product categories, as well as with more than a dozen DEI nonprofits, advocates, and ambassadors.   The advice from such third-parties included feasibility considerations.  SNEW is an outdoor industry publication of Pocket Outdoor Media Inc.

 

The full December 9, 2020 article by SNEWS is available at this link, along with with reference to the full document describing these REI standards:  REI holds vendors accountable for climate and DEI practices with new product standards

Comparing the Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines

Comparing the Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines

We found this interesting, an article comparing the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines by Mike Terry writing for BioSpace, the life sciences digital hub.  All of us are of course keen to know what may be coming with these Covid-19 vaccines.  The economic recovery and economic development we all hope for, depends upon the actual and perceived protections and treatments that are coming.

 

The best early news is the so-called “efficacy rate” … both vaccines are reporting 90%+ efficacy rates.   the CDC states that “vaccine efficacy/effectiveness (“VE”) is measured by calculating the risk of disease among vaccinated and unvaccinated persons and determining the percentage reduction in risk of disease among vaccinated persons relative to unvaccinated persons.

 

One big similarity in comparing the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is that each use new messenger RNA technology.  RNA therapies that use mRNAs have been in the works prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, for possible use in personalized cancer vaccines and as vaccines for infectious diseases such as Zika virus.  However, as Mike Terry notes in his article, to-date, no therapeutic or vaccine using mRNA has been approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

 

to-date, no therapeutic or vaccine using mRNA has been approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

 

Both of these vaccine candidates require two doses about 28 days apart.  The Pfizer-BioNTech requires specialized refrigeration although the drug researcher and manufacturer Pfizer has designed its own packaging using dry ice that can be stored for weeks without the specialized freezers.

 

Pfizer and BioNTech have no development funding from the U.S. government, but do have a $1.95 billion agreement with the government to supply 100 million doses of the vaccine, with an option for another 500 million.   The Moderna vaccine trials were developed with financial and logistical support from the U.S. National institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Operation Warp Speed, and could receive up to $2.45 billion in federal government funding.  And Moderna has a $1.5 billion deal to supply 100 million doses to the U.S. government.

 

The rapid progress from virus detection, sequencing information availability, and these vaccines being in their current state of testing, is a testament to the role of the burgeoning life sciences research and development industry in today’s connected global community.

 

The full article at BioSpace comparing the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines can be reviewed here:

 

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s Vaccines Are Leading the COVID-19 Race. How Do They Compare?

 

Retailer bankruptcies and store closings.

Lifestyle Retail Centers the “Evergreen” for Malls?

As winners and losers become apparent, lifestyle centers may be well-poised for the future.

Are lifestyle retail centers, the “evergreen” among mall formats?    For several important reasons, we believe this may be true.

 

Let’s start with the capacity for lifestyle retail centers to adapt and retrofit over time.   Most of the best lifestyle centers feature single-story retail, or at maximum two-story.    And these centers are also commonly set up in main street configurations, sometimes even with a city grid (block) format.   As the businesses that reside in a lifestyle change evolve, grow, get replaced, and the like, the cost of change-outs are simply less expensive than enclosed malls or shopping centers set within fixed overall shells.

 

Lifestyle retail centers are also less likely to be anchored by the department store and big box retailers that are facing their possible obsolescence.  And where a lifestyle center has been “anchored” by a retailer or lifestyle center (such as a fitness club) that has lost its lease, the vacant store and its pad are not difficult to re-purpose for even a new land use.   And since such anchors typically have had some amount of adjacent dedicated parking, re-configuring a building shell is somewhat more flexible when some surface parking is used.

 

Like politics, the feasibility and success of all lifestyle centers are local.    Accordingly, as local market conditions change and consumer preferences evolve, the mall product augmentations may head towards location-based entertainment, to mixed-use reconfiguration, and of course, a full scraping of the original mall concept.   Some of the reconfiguration possible include last-mile fulfillment for online retailers as well as dark grocers handling similar online fulfillment.   Shopping centers are usually well-located with regard to their local customer support for of course these centers work well for fullfillment.

 

Then there’s the placemaking and “gathering place” aspects of lifestyle retail centers.   The open-air design of lifestyle centers is conducive to providing attractive (and green) walkways, approaches from parking, sunshine (when available), and outdoor settings and structures that we all of enjoy.   When a shopping trip is more about having an experience, enjoying some camaraderie, and doing some people watching, it becomes apparent that … just maybe … lifestyle retail centers may be the new mall “evergreen” format.

 

Our directory and history of lifestyle retail centers, is available at the link provided below.

 

 

Lifestyle retail centers the new mall evergreen?

Lifestyle retail centers may be the new mall evergreen, in terms of mall configuration and customer appeal.

Contact us for more information, we'll enjoy hearing from you.