The vibrant 15-minute geographies of suburban Morristown, NJ

N. David Milder, Founder and President, DANTH, Inc. and William F. Ryan, Community Business Development Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Abstract: The notion of 15-minute geographies, neighbourhoods and cities has caught considerable attention among noted urbanists and the media, sparked by the actions taken in Paris to create vibrant 15-minute neighbourhoods. Their defining characteristics were, however, often unclear or questionable: how many of their residents’ needs and wants needed to be satisfied within them? Did they need to significantly diminish car use? Did the use of drive sheds mean an inauthentic 15-minute geography? Could they only be defined by walk or bike trips? These issues are addressed in this paper as we take up the particular assertion that suburbs cannot have 15-minute geographies because auto use would be necessary for residents to access the services and venues that can meet their needs and wants. In doing so, we argue that these geographies have two types of areas that must be analysed: a core walk trip-defined area, and a drive shed-defined associated access area.


Keywords: 15-minute geographies; city; urban regeneration; Morristown; New Jersey


N. David Milder is Founder and President of DANTH, Inc., a nationally recognised authority on downtown revitalisation. For over 45 years he has utilised his market research and management skills to assess the potentials of downtowns and recommend revitalisation and recruitment strategies and programmes. David also has managed several downtown special districts, has authored three books and numerous articles. He is also the Founding Editor of The American Downtown Revitalization Review. His recent research has focused on Central Social Districts, the changing nature of work and its impacts on downtowns and downtown small business development.

William F. Ryan is a Community Business Development Specialist at UW-Madison Extension, who works with local economic development professionals, planners and interested residents to improve their downtown. Awarded the title of Distinguished Lecturer, he has developed innovative and practical tools to improve the mix of businesses and the use of space. He has led the development of the nationally utilised Downtown Market Analysis Toolbox. In 2005, Bill was awarded the Wisconsin Idea Fellow in recognition for public service on behalf of the UW. Bill’s initial years after college were in hotel development. He has worked for Holiday Inns Corporation, Laventhol & Horwath-Boston and the Boston-based Flatley Company. He is a graduate of Cornell University, School of Hotel Administration and the UW-Madison MBA programme.

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