The Project

The research project “The Evolutive Meshed Compact City (emc2). A pragmatic transition pathway to the 15-minute City for European metropolitan peripheries” has been selected for financing within the European tender of the Horizon Europe call “Driving Urban Transitions”. The emc2 project is coordinated by Giovanni Fusco (CNRS UMR ESPACE), supported by Meta Berghauser Pont (TU Chalmers, SMoG), Valerio Cutini (University of Pisa, DESTeC), Angelika Psenner (TU Wien, Urban Design Department) and Laurence Jacquier (AUA) as co-applicants. Running from October 2023 to September 2026, it is a research-oriented project focusing on the transition pathway to the 15-minute city.

The starting point of the research consortium is that the 15-minute city has strong prerequisites in terms of urban form and spatial organisation of the physical city, which should be integrated in any transition strategy for suburbs and car-dependent outskirts. With these demands in consideration, the project proposes a new model of the 15-minute city for the loose structural networks of peripheral locations: the Evolutive Meshed Compact City (emc2).

The emc2 model envisages compact urban forms as corridor developments based on existing main roads, forming a meshed structure across the metropolitan area. Redesigned for pedestrians, these interconnected roads will be turned into vibrant and inclusive main streets, living spaces that offer a high quality of stay, a wide variety of high-frequency mixed uses and connections to wider-range mobility options. They interact with metropolitan ecosystem corridors and require only marginal improvements to the existing suburban forms.

The project will assess the emc2 model at different scales in six geographically very different European case studies, through a triangulated research methodology including: innovative geospatial and network modelling; observational usage analyses; comparative morpho-functional analyses.

The main goal of the project is a detailed specification of the emc2 model, to successfully implement the 15-minute city in car-dependent outskirts and reduce the risk that 15-minute city policies limited to urban cores exacerbate the underlying tensions between gentrifying centres and left-behind peripheral areas. More specifically, the project will produce: a transferable, multi-scale method to assess emc2 potential in European suburban areas, and guidelines for emc2 implementation, including examples and obstacles. The consortium will disseminate results both in academia and among urban stakeholders.