Transforming Waterloo - Text

Transforming Waterloo - The Next 15 Minute City

What's a 15 Minute City?

It's the idea that every person should have access to all of their needs within fifteen minutes of their home including: Green Spaces, Education, Health services, Work, Shopping Centre(s), and Transportation.

Why a 15 Minute City?

  • Positively impacts multiple social determinants of health:
    • physical environment, healthy behaviors, social support, and access to health services
  • Can help reduce the city's carbon emissions

How Can We Get There?

  • Current urban planning practices must be improved to support the transformation of Waterloo.
  • We propose 3 initiatives that target core elements of planning including transportation, technology, and infrastructure:
    • 1. Electrifying buses & expanding public transportation
    • 2. Using internet of things technology
    • 3. Implementing adaptive reuse strategies

Electrify & Expand

Electrifying Waterloo's public transportation bus fleet can remove cars from our roads and drastically decrease GHG emissions. In order for residents to effectively travel, bus routes must be expanded to better connect our city.

Link to Transformation

Everything an individual needs should be within 15 minutes of their residence, thus effective means of transportation must be available.

Widespread electrified public buses will allow residents to meet their transportation needs without the need for highly polluting passenger vehicles.

Real Life Example

Canadian cities such as Ottawa, Calgary, and Saskatoon have conducted zero emissions buses (ZEBs) pilot projects and have made investments to electrify their entire fleet. In Saskatoon, ZEBs were shown to maintain optimum performance in -40c weather!

Internet of Things

Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of electrical devices that can communicate with each other using the internet. This technology allows for information collected to be used to inform decision makers.

Link to Transformation

A 15 minute city would use IoT to interact with traffic cameras, sensors, satellites, and more to speed up city wide transportation.

IoT Technology optimizes energy use, infrastructure management, and overall health through the environment to help improve cities.

By redesigning streets and neighborhoods that focus on people and community first strategies using IoT Waterloo can reduce costs and its carbon footprint!

Real Life Example

Plan Melbourne is a city in Australia that has started to implement 20 minute neighborhoods which focus on improving quality of life for residents within neighborhoods and communities among other policy plans.

Adaptive Reuse

Adaptive reuse is an urban planning strategy that renovates abandoned buildings and creates a new purpose for the existing building.

Link To Transformation

  • Can increase the accessibility of necessary resources for the people of Waterloo
    • For example community centres, housing, retailing or health facilities
  • Increases the walkability of the city.
  • Reduces the need for developing unused land.

Real Life Example

Willis Knighton Health System project spent $13 million on buying and renovating an abandoned hospital and turned it into a health centre. When compared to demolishing and rebuilding, adaptive reuse saved stakeholders $28 million.

Why Waterloo?

Waterloo is a major leader in Canada when it comes to implementing new changes in sustainability. This forefront in innovation will allow other cities to follow and create better cities. By improving urban planning, Waterloo can improve even further and become an efficient city that meets the needs of its residentsー all within 15 minutes (of travel)!

What Waterloo Can Do:

  1. Develop a Transportation Electrification Road Map
  2. Upgrade the current technology to allow for IoT communication
  3. Identify available spaces that have been abandoned in the city and assess their ability to be reused.