Redefining Urban Neighborhoods: Applying the 15-Minute City Concept in Seoul


  • Jung Woo Kim Department of Architecture and Architectural Engineering, Seoul National University
  • Bumjoon Kang


neighborhood planning, community detection, network analysis, 15-minute city




Background and Objectives

This study proposes a new method using daily mobility data in order to redefine neighborhood boundaries, reflecting residents’ actual travel patterns. Inspired by the '15-Minute City' concept, which focuses on creating accessible zones based on travel time, this approach seeks to transform urban planning by aligning neighborhood planning with actual mobility patterns. We aim to apply this methodology to Seoul's existing Neighborhood Plan, which is segmented into 116 zones based on population size, to assess potential new area definitions. Furthermore, this study compares our new zone boundaries with Seoul's '2030 Neighborhood Plan' to assess the congruence of functional neighborhood boundaries.


This study focused on residents living in the Seoul Metropolitan Area and used the 2016 and 2021 National Household Travel Survey data. We employed network analysis based Community Detection techniques using the Louvain algorithm to delineate neighborhood zones of Seoul. The research focuses on selected travel data within a 15-minute timeframe, focusing on walking and cycling modes, to examine the nature and extent of neighborhood-based activities. We compared travel and neighborhood patterns between 2016 and 2021. Additionally, the study quantified the extent to which these derived boundaries align with the 116 neighborhood zones outlined in Seoul's 2030 Neighborhood Plan using the Jaccard Index.


Using community detection on Seoul's mobility data, we discovered dynamic neighborhood zones distinct from the conventional 116 zones. The analysis of travel data within a 15-minute timeframe revealed new neighborhood zones that more accurately reflect residents' actual walking and cycling patterns, diverging from existing planned zones. Furthermore, a comparison with the 2030 Community Plan using the Jaccard Index identified both alignments and discrepancies, highlighting areas with potential for urban planning improvements.


This study redefined neighborhood boundaries precisely, enabling a comparison with Seoul's current neighborhood zones. By evaluating the extent to which existing urban plans reflect actual mobility patterns, the research offers insights into the complex dynamics of urban movement and functional neighborhood structures, suggesting ways to improve the precision and adaptability of urban planning.


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