The 20-minute neighbourhood is an outcome that the Victoria State Government aims to deliver in its 35-year Melbourne plan, aiming to encourage residents to live more locally by “giving people the ability to meet most of their daily needs within a 20-minute walk from home” . In other words, people should be able to access essential facilities and services within an 800-metre walk from home to a destination and back again – 10 minutes to the amenity and 10 minutes back . The scheme is intended to create a “more cohesive and inclusive community with a vibrant local economy” as well as prevent social exclusion and promote a sense of place .
Living in Jesmond during my undergraduate degree made me appreciate the ‘village-like’ feel of the area, and how easily accessible all of my daily needs were, whether it be essential or a luxury. Whilst the 20-minute neighbourhood strategy was pioneered in Australia, it appears that such principles are present in areas closer to home, here in Newcastle.
Although my walk to university was slightly outside the designated 400-metre radius, there are still local schools and learning opportunities in the area – West Jesmond Primary School, Newcastle High School for Girls and the Friends of Jesmond Library.
Within the 800-metre walkable catchment, there is also adequate provision of green space, playgrounds, parks and sports facilities. The neighbourhood benefits from public parks such as the Town Moor, Exhibition Gardens and Jesmond Dene, as well as sports and leisure facilities such as Newcastle Cricket Club, Jesmond Tennis Club and Jesmond Swimming Pool.
Although Jesmond is heavily populated by students, there is still diversity in housing provision. Housing typologies include flats, terraced, semi-detached and detached , whilst tenure ranges from student rental, private ownership and social housing.
One of the things I loved most about living in Jesmond was its walkability – every road within the catchment area is accompanied by pavements, cycle lanes and a slow vehicular speed limit. Some areas also have cycle and pedestrian pathways as wide as the road. The area is also serviced by two metro stops – Jesmond and West Jesmond – connecting the neighbourhood to the coast, airport and city centre.
A variety of shops are accessible within the catchment area, ranging from Tesco and Waitrose to homeware boutiques, as well as local health facilities such as clinics. These provide local employment opportunities, as do the number of restaurants, bars and pubs within the catchment – particularly along Osborne Road.
Although the 20-minute neighbourhood is not a designated strategy within our local plans, it is clear that they still exist, and could be closer than you think!
 Victoria State Government (n.d.) 20-minute neighbourhoods, Available at: https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/policy-and-strategy/planning-for-melbourne/plan-melbourne/20-minute-neighbourhoods. [Accessed on 08/04/20].
 Victoria State Government (2016) Plan Melbourne: 2017-2050, State Government of Victoria.
 Zoopla (2020) Browse House prices in Jesmond, Available at: https://www.zoopla.co.uk/house-prices/browse/jesmond/?q=Jesmond%2C%20Newcastle%20upon%20Tyne%20NE2&results_sort=newest_listings&search_source=home. [Accessed on 08/04/20].