15 Minute City, Part Deux


15 Minute City, Part Deux

I was soundly criticized for my comments on the 15 minute city. Fair Enough. I would like to expand on my thoughts.

The 15 Minute City is the brain child of Carlos Moreno, of the Sorbonne in Paris. Here is a direct quote:

A new urban planning model which can change a capital and the goal is to reduce replacements. Sounds familiar and very recent, right? Staying in your own area is something we have been doing since lockdowns, haven’t we? Carlos Moreno : “COVID-19 has accelerated the introduction of the 15-minute city in many cities, thanks to the rediscovery of proximity, the use of active mobility and the strengthening of social ties.” To be confined to only a 1 km radius to your home can be refreshing. You get to know your neighbourhood and buy from local shopkeepers, craftsmen and entrepreneurs. This increases our social contact and we meet new people. (Emphasis mine.)

Christopher, in response to my blog, said the following:

You know it will be rubbish, when the article is by JVH. a 15 minute city makes life MORE convenient, and is more sustainable. There is no restriction of traveling wherever the hell you want. The point of a 15 minute city is to make it so you dont HAVE to. Your freedom remains intact. (Again, Emphasis Mine).

Christopher and his ilk truly believe that ‘your freedom remains intact.’ However, the inventors of the 15 minute city use words like ‘confined’ and ‘staying in your own area.’ That doesn’t sound like freedom to me. In the end, they want to do away with all mobility, except bicycles and feet. You won’t need buses, or trains or airplanes since you will be confined in a 1 km radius. Hell, that’s only six tenths of a mile. About the size of a medium sized prison. Cars are anathema.

The privately owned vehicle is our passport to freedom. Picnics in the country, quick weekend ski trips, maybe a short visit to a cabin in the mountains or the beach. Our kids can visit friends across town, or play soccer or little league. It means that if we want to work at a job that we enjoy but live an hour away on our little piece of ground, we can. And it’s our business whether or not we do so. No urban planner will tell us where we are to be “confined” and in “what area we are to stay.’

I live in a diverse neighborhood – within 200 yards are blacks, Hispanics, gays, folks from India, Pakistan, and Eastern Europe. seniors, young families, singles, apartments, single family dwellings. We all know each other. We meet when we walk our dogs. We chat about the neighborhood, the issues within our city, and have one another’s back. No one told us to live there. It was our choice. Yes, Christopher, our freedom remains intact. We all own cars and use them to go to the Bowl, or Dodger games, or to work building other homes for people who want them. Some work in nearby hospitals, in offices downtown, or at the airport. We are a few minutes from professional football games, from a dozen universities, and we love it.

However if, by choice, we want to live in the country, we can do so. There are many small communities within an hour’s drive. To have freedom, Christopher, you have to have someplace to go. Whether you go there or not.

But if you wish to live in a 15 Minute City, more power to you. It’s your choice.

For me, a 15 Minute City is Balderdash. But that, fortunately, is just me.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. These people are the Al Gores of the world. I want you under control so I can run around the world in private jets, big SUV’s and heat and cool 25 room mansions. They do a very good job of presenting their case however biased it is. We on the other hand do not do a good job of presenting the counter measure. I was in a small city yesterday where a main round through town, 5 lane highway was in the process of being turned into a 3-lane road and adding two bike lanes. This is a road where no one in their right mind would ride a bike down this high speed road.

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