What is a 15-minute city and why is everyone talking about it?

Have you heard of 15 minute cities? In European countries like England or France this concept of 15-minute city or quarter-hour city It has made a good noise to the point of raising debates between people who are committed to sustainable mobility and those who are very distrustful.

And the truth is that it hasn’t been long since this concept emerged. In fact, it has its antecedents around the beginning of the 20th century, but already well posed, this concept arose from the ideas of the urban planner and teacher de la Sobornne (Soborna) Carlos Moreno.

“In this image released on May 31, leading micromobility company Dott demonstrates how cities can be transformed if more drivers switched to cycling in London.” Photo: Getty Images.

He was later promoted by the Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo And the result? There is a lot of interest around the 15 minute town, but also a bit of misinformation.

What is a 15 minute city?

It is a concept —urban planning and mobility— that is committed to the city ​​design that make their services available to the population at a short distance.

That is to say, that the services, schools, clubs and jobs are 15 minutes away from any point of a city and that people can move to them either on foot or by bike. They imagine?

“Auckland, New Zealand”. Photo: Lynn Grieveson-Getty Images.

He purpose of this 15 minute city is that all the inhabitants can access most of the services and community centers without having to travel by car, long distances or bursting the trafficking city ​​dweller

The good Carlos Moreno was the first to talk about this idea, just like that in 2016. According to the urban planner, the citizenship has the right to move in short to work offices, hospitals, schools, restaurants and recreational centers.

A bet not to use cars

And yes, a central part of a city of 15 minutes is to take the use of cars to the background —and in this way, put a stop to the despapaye that usually builds up in cities due to traffic, the use of cars and pollution.

Instead, the road has to be ceded to cyclists and passers-by. And just like that, this proposal makes matches with efforts to respond to climate change generated by industrial activities.

“Brussels, Belgium”. Photo: Thierry Monasse-Getty Images.

Moreover, this initiative was adopted in 2020 by the C40 Climate Leadership Group as one of the options to turn around climate change and get out of the covid pandemic.


This commitment to sustainable mobility has found detractors. Some groups have taken it upon themselves to disseminate fake news about the cities of 15 minutesclaiming that it is a plan, to monitor people?

Yes, they often say that the city of 15 minutes is more of a “surveillance system” to restrict mobility and control people.

“15 minute cities protest in Oxford, England in February 2023.” Photo: Martin Pope-Getty Images.

In countries like England, serious and controversial debates have arisen about 15-minute cities —similar to what happened with COVID vaccines or sanitary measures.

Paris, one of the first to give way to the city of 15 minutes

But in the midst of all this noise, there are cities that are taking steps towards a reconfiguration of space and the mobility.

One of the examples is Parisa city that began to define schools as meeting points for each neighborhood or neighborhood.

“Paris, November 2022”. Photo: Getty Images.

The point is that schools have become the point of reference for services and other recreation centers, such as parks or even the use of school playgrounds on weekends.

The commitment of Paris is also focused on encouraging the use of the bicycle and little by little shorten distances.

The net is that this idea or the commitment to sustainable mobility is very attractiveespecially for all people who usually spend more than 2 hours in public transport or their cars to go from one point of the metropolitan area to another —COF cof all the people who move from Edomex to get to their jobs in CDMX. What do you think?

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Peggy McColl

Mentor l NY Times Bestselling Author. Hi, I'm Peggy McColl, and I'm here to deliver a positive message to you!

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