15-Minute Communities: Pioneering Sustainable Urban Development

By Michael Sutherland | July 4, 2023

Building complete communities with complete infrastructure
The 15-Minute Communities Movement is reimagining cities and urban spaces for a better future. Hatch’s Urban Solutions team is collaborating across all sectors, and with our partners and clients, to drive this transformative initiative. We are excited to share the progress we’ve made and the promising future that lies ahead.

The essence of the 15-Minute Communities concept aligns our commitment to building complete communities with complete infrastructure, driving decarbonization and delivering transit-oriented sustainable urban development. We believe in creating vibrant, walkable neighborhoods that prioritize community connectivity, social inclusion, economic viability, and environmental responsibility. The objective is to deliver development and places that are not only livable, but livable and loved; places that sweat assets harder, and create better outcomes for communities, owners and investors.

Building 15-Minute Communities

Hatch team members have been involved with the Urban Land Institute and contributed to the development of " Building 15-Minute Communities: A Leadership Guide | ULI Knowledge Finder

The guide empowers urban planners and city builders to design cities with a long-term vision, ensuring that development is not reliant on automobiles but instead fosters healthy, inclusive, and accessible communities.

The blueprint to creating thriving green streets that increase foot traffic and trade

Read more


The transformative journey ahead relies on the recognition that there is a tremendous and needed opportunity to positively shape the future of our cities, communities, and urban spaces. In the next seven years, over 10 billion square feet of development will be built in North America. Given the challenges of housing, climate change, and financial uncertainty, it is really important to get this right. With more considered approaches and delivery, we can avoid the pitfalls of developing auto-dependent neighborhoods and instead create sustainable, thriving, walkable communities that perform better.

There are "Four Forces of Change" that are integral to this urban planning approach:

  1. Aligning private development and public infrastructure decisions
  2. Combining actions to streamline and accelerate housing, community development, and infrastructure delivery
  3. Applying walkability and active transport decisions to realize 15-minute communities
  4. Bringing together soft and hard sciences, ideation, and delivery knowledge to realize infrastructure and communities that thrive, are more resilient and valuable for everyone.

The vision for 15-Minute Communities extends beyond a single neighborhood or city. It aims to transform entire metropolitan regions, central business districts, edge cities, suburban corridors, suburban malls, and exurbs into interconnected, walkable, and sustainable spaces. By leveraging transit networks and integrating planning functions, we can redefine expectations and create environments in which people can live, work, and be their best.


A key aspect of 15-minute Communities is the integration of transit and active-transportation infrastructure, social infrastructure and environmental considerations. Combining funding sources and enhancing synergies across energy and environmental infrastructure creates an opportunity to establish green, decarbonized communities that benefit residents and the planet. Hatch’s global experience in delivering innovative solutions to transform communities with holistic infrastructure brings insights and experience - key assets for anyone looking to bring these concepts to life.

The 15-Minute Communities Movement is not just about urban planning — it is about economic development, social inclusion, climate change, and collaboration across sectors. Developers play a pivotal role in rebuilding aging infrastructure, marketing regions as a whole, and addressing the essential needs of education, health, affordable housing, and transit accessibility.

Historic levels of government funding in the United States, Canada, and Australia can help facilitate the vision for building complete communities. These stimulus programs, if approached and accessed optimally, will enable those in the construction, real estate, energy, non-profit, and community sectors to partner, secure funding, and focus on the same multifunctional projects (e.g., 15-minute communities).

Hatch has a long, successful history of helping clients envision, identify, design, and secure financing and funding for the implementation of community, environmental, transportation, and energy projects. Our urban solutions, environmental, energy, and community engagement and social performance teams are committed to inspiring positive change and transforming urban spaces into vibrant, sustainable, connected communities.

It won’t be easy. But the payoffs are significant, and the effort well worth it.

Building communities that enhance the well-being of residents and create a positive legacy for future generations will take time, innovation, and expertise.

Hatch is dedicated to creating communities where walking, cycling, and public transportation are not only convenient but also enjoyable experiences. After all, we live, work, and raise families in these communities. That’s why we always do our homework, always act like owners, and always deliver exceptional service.

Contact the author Micheal Sutherland and its collaborators, Ryan Darby, Emma Petersen, Kelly Watson and Genevieve Walker for more information about 15-min Communities.