Twenty-minute Neighborhoods

Detroit Mayor Duggan introduces 20-minute neighborhood concept at Mackinaw Policy Conference in 2016

Detroit Mayor Duggan introduces 20-minute neighborhood concept at Mackinaw Policy Conference in 2016

The city of Detroit is now planning and helping create 20-minute neighborhoods, but what are they?

The basic concept is that anyone living in one of these neighborhoods should be able to bike or walk to their non-work errands in just 20 minutes. Since Detroit was designed for streetcars, it’s more dense than suburbs that were designed for cars. With more density, places are closer together which makes walking or biking (and transit!) a more realistic transportation option. This is a competitive advantage Detroit has over the more sprawling suburbs as there is a growing demand for more walkable communities.

Current city planning efforts define these neighborhoods below. Note that it includes these neighborhoods being free from blight.

From the 2016 Greater Islandview planning request for proposals:

“20-Minute Neighborhood” Performance Objectives
Mayor Duggan has set a city-wide goal to design and develop walkable neighborhoods in areas wherein residents can access quality retail, enjoy open space amenities, travel to transit and/or multi-modal alternatives within a 20-minute walk. The initiative seeks to ensure residents have a 20-minute walk radius through land that is productive, safe and beautiful. Design recommendations from design team must support Detroit meet 20-Minute Neighborhood objectives within this context for these efforts will set the foundation for the future success of Detroit’s lower east side.


  • 20 minutes to Retail (Includes shopping, restaurants, grocery stores, services, coffee shops, etc.)
  • 20 minutes to Transit (Includes bus stops, BRT, light rail, carpools, etc.)
  • 20 minutes to a Park (Includes greenways, waterfronts, public plazas, public recreation facilities, natural areas, etc.)
  • 20 minutes from Blight (One should not encounter blighted buildings, derelict streetscapes, nor crumbling infrastructure within a 20 minute walking radius)