The 15 minute cities is an urban planning concept where neighborhoods provide residents with the basic things they need: shops, schools, parks, leisure options, health care within a 15-minute radius by foot or bike.
It is supposed to improve the standard of living for residents, make things easier for pedestrians and cyclists, and reduce the use of cars thus cutting down on emissions. The aim is to make cities more livable and connected, with less private car use meaning cleaner air, greener streets and lower levels of planet-heating pollution.
Carlos Moreno, a professor at the Sorbonne University in France, is credited with first coining the term 15-minute cities, but this broad concept is not new to the globe.
In Paris, Mayor Anne Hidalgo based her 2020 reelection campaign, in part, on a plan to create 15-minute cities. The city has banned cars from parts of the Seine, added hundreds of miles of cycling routes and created mini parks.
Even some US cities have taken up the idea. Portland introduced 20-minute neighborhoods more than a decade ago, while O’Fallon, Illinois, recently published a strategy to “grow from a typical suburban community to a community with everything you need within 15-minutes.”
Supporters of 15-minute cities include the worldwide C40 cities alliance plus the United Nations and the World Economic Forum targets of numerous false claims that are subject to frequent fact-checks.
Among moderate critics of the concept, Toronto-based urban planning lecturer and author Jay Pitter has argued it cannot be transposed from European to North American cities and could worsen inequality by spurring gentrification according to a report of the Firstpost.
“The sickos at the UN/WEF plan to confiscate all polluted land and force the people into smart cities,” one recent tweet reads. “Resist. Make people aware. Wake up!! #Agenda2030.” read a tweet opposing this idea.
“The conspiracy theorists are right that you can’t make a real city out of self-contained enclaves – those would just be villages,” Carlo Ratti, an architect, engineer, and Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology told CNN. In early February, UK politician Nick Fletcher raised a “conspiracy” in Parliament, calling 15-minute cities an “international socialist concept” and claimed that they “will cost us our personal freedom.”