The 15-Minute City concept trend in event planning

The 15-Minute City concept is the biggest trend right now in the events industry. It refers to creating urban environments where residents can access their essential needs within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from their homes.

This trend is gaining popularity as more people seek to:

  1. Reduce their carbon footprint
  2. Enhance their overall well-being
  3. Have deeper community engagement

While the concept applies to private lives, it has a big influence on the events industry, too. 

Here’s how:

Collaborate with local businesses

Purchase goods and services from local businesses. That will help event organisers ensure that the event reflects on the needs and interests of the local community where it takes place and supports its economic and social development.

Working with local businesses can shorten the supply chain, reduce transportation costs, and minimise the carbon footprint of the event by reducing the distance that goods and services have to travel.

Offer nearby activities for attendees to explore during breaks or after the event

Encourage attendees to take advantage of the surrounding area by exploring on foot or by bike. Too often, attendees spend the entire event inside, missing out on the opportunity to experience the local surroundings. 

Actively encourage attendees to explore by providing ample time for breaks and recommending nearby businesses and attractions. Organise guided tours or walking groups to promote physical activity and facilitate networking among attendees. 

Choose venues and locations that are easily accessible by foot, bike or public transportation

Choose venues that are within a short walking, biking, or public transportation distance from each other, ideally no more than 15 minutes. This not only reduces the carbon footprint of the event, but also benefits attendees by minimising the time required to commute between venues. 

By reducing the need for attendees to travel long distances between event locations, this can help to alleviate the stress and fatigue that can arise from travel, and contribute to their overall well-being. 

Case study – Talent X, Dublin

Talent X event organised by Christina Pilz, Operations & Communication Manager at 27Names, was centred around the concept of 15-minute cities and driven by two main factors. 

  • To present 27Names’ ethics and values, which include a commitment to environmental, social, and corporate governance. 
  • To remain within budget and make the event as budget-friendly as possible, in order to ensure accessibility to all of their agencies. 

Christina researched many hotels in Dublin and ultimately chose to work with Wren Urban Nest, which is Dublin’s most sustainable hotel and Ireland’s first net carbon hotel. Once the hotel was selected, she designed a program that was completely walkable, with all meetings and activities taking place within a 15-minute walking distance of the hotel, with several venues even less than 5 minutes away!

Further, she worked with the Verve Live Agency to get local recommendations, and held part of the meetings at their unique, hidden loft space.

Another meeting venue was Three Storey, where they had lunch at the in-house restaurant, eliminating the need to travel.

For their evening activity on Day 1, they had a private Irish Dancing lesson and musical performance. They brought the musicians and dancers to them (at a local pub close to the hotel) instead of the group needing to travel to a further destination. 

‘It’s amazing how many unique and varied venues are available within walking distance if you just spend a little extra time doing some research or asking locals for recommendations.’ 

They arranged for one of the lunches to be catered from a nearby eatery, located only a few hundred metres away from the meeting venue. This decision supported a local business and also helped reduce the carbon footprint of the event by minimising the need for transportation. The food was delivered by bike, further reducing the event’s impact on the environment. 

The only time they used any motor transport was during a city tour with Viking Splash but they walked to and from the pickup/dropoff point.

The feedback received from participants was very positive. As a result, they will continue planning with the 15 minute cities approach for future meetings, and it’s already in motion for the upcoming Tallinn meeting. 

By aligning the event with their values and keeping it within budget, 27Names was able to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and accessibility while still providing a high-quality event experience.

Photo: Dublin city centre
Credit: Lucian Petronel Potlong, Canva

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