Proximity Planning Symposium

March 16, 2023

UC Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation StudiesDepartment of City and Regional PlanningInstitute for European Studies, and Global Metropolitan StudiesUniversidad Politécnica de Madrid Departamento de Urbanística y Ordenación del Territorio; and Technical University of Munich hosted the Proximity Planning: A local strategy for global problems, or a global strategy for local problems? Debating the experiences of Barcelona and Paris and their applicability elsewhere Symposiumon March 10, 2023.

Leading planners in academia and government presented work and research from the US and Europe on proximity planning and 15-minute cities on the UC Berkeley campus to students, staff, faculty, and the bay area planning professionals and engaged in question and answer sessions.

Proximity and accessibility are planning principles of urban resilience increasingly used in contemporary urban areas to promote decarbonization of mobility, support the healthy city and vital neighborhoods, and increase urban resilience. In the United States, proximity planning encompasses a long and innovative tradition such as new urbanism, smart growth, transit oriented development, complete communities, and the city of the “quart of milk”. In Europe, similar efforts to implement proximity planning are under way, with two cases standing out: Paris, with the “15-minute City,” and Barcelona, ​​with its “superilla”  or super block. Elsewhere, cities elsewhere are following suit. From Portland and Melbourne, to Ottawa and Bogota, an increasing number of cities are incorporating similar principles into their spatial and mobility plans.At the same time, the recent COVID19 crisis inspired hundreds of examples of the application of the principles of proximity planning.

Despite its relevance, research on proximity and accessibility planning has not kept pace with the resurgence in practice. What are critical emerging topics for research and implementation? What topics have been overlooked? Can these strategies be easily adapted to different contexts? This symposium will contribute to discussions about proximity planning as a core strategy to improve urban livability and resilience, focusing on the revitalization of existing cities, detailing the innovations of the two European cases mentioned above, and exploring their applicability to the revitalization of cities in the Americas.


1:00-1:10 Welcome remarks.

Daniel A. Rodriguez (UC Berkeley) and Patxi Lamiquiz (Universidad Politecnica de Madrid)

1:10-2:25 Panel 1: A US-focused framework for urban proximity planning (15-20 min ea)

  • The healthy city and active transportation. Susan Handy (UC Davis)

  • New name for an old idea?  Margaret Crawford (UC Berkeley) 

  • California’s experience with urban form and its impact on travel. Dan Chatman  (UC Berkeley) 

  • 15-20 min Q&A

2:35-3:50 Panel 2: The European experience (15-20 min ea)

  • Paris, latest developments for a 15-min city. Carlos Moreno and Catherine Gall (Universite Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne)

  • Barcelona’s Superblock: rebalancing traffic, streets and quartiers.  Xavi Matilla (Chief City Architect, Municipality of Barcelona) 

  • How the 'Flowers of Proximity' make the 15-Minute City bloom. Benjamin Büttner (Technical University of Munich)
  • 15-20 min Q&A

3:50-4:15 Break  (Bechtel/ Garbarini Lounge) 

4:15-5:00  Debate/discussion –  What’s new about proximity planning ?

5:00 pm Adjournment