The "15-Minute City," a concept NOT coming to America

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  TheEncogitationer 2 months ago.

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    The madness of the “15-minute city”

    The starry-eyed pie-in-the sky proponents of the 15-minute city concept to have everyone living with a 15-minute walk of virtually all of their basic needs. Grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacies, doctors and dentists, diverse retail stores, etc. They sometimes put it as a 15-minute walk OR BIKE RIDE but they don’t explain if that means that bicyclists can operate within a much larger circle, since a bicyclist can easily go four times further within 15 minutes. And does every person get assigned a different 15-minute radius?

    I guess we’ll have to read the fine print under the new rules these folks want to impose on us.

    It’s much more than just bringing needs closer. It’s also about trying to reduce auto use. I’m not sure what provision is made for people whose employers are beyond the 15-minute radius.

    Part of the proposal calls for being able to drive outside one’s radius up to 100 times a year. More than that, and you will be subject to a fine. And for people who can afford the fine, will their cars ultimately be confiscated or sequestered?

    We were warned with the Covid lockdowns that that was just a foot in the door and that once we acquiesced to those it would turn into a proof of concept that would lead to more lockdowns not related to any pandemic.

    Well, as the subject line implied, I don’t see the 15-minute city making any inroads into the American way of life. And not because Americans are such rugged individualists they’d reject the idea out of hand, though they might well do so.

    The real problem is how American urban areas are laid out, with commercial and residential areas fairy strictly zoned apart from each other.

    There are older cities or cities with older areas where the 15-minute concept might work because these older areas are mixed-use already and have been for quite a while. In much of NYC, for example, elderly apartment buildings often have commercial businesses on the main floor, restaurants, cafes, bodegas, ice cream shops, gift shops, etc.

    This is how many European cities are laid out as well. Paris is a huge city and my memory of it was that we could do all kinds of shopping and dining within just a few blocks of our hotel, and that much of the city looked the same. Ditto for London and just about every city in Europe.

    So, to have 15-minute cities in the United States would mean tearing down and rebuilding what’s there now, or at least tossing out the entire zoning concept.

    I just don’t see that happening here.

    • This topic was modified 2 months ago by  Unseen.




    Mixed use works for small towns or small areas within towns. Converting an American city—even a small to medium sized city—won’t happen. And that’s for political reasons as well as practical ones.

    Who is going to tell Americans to spend most of their time within the distance of a 15-minute walk or even bike ride? Answer: No one who wants to be elected or re-elected. You have to agree with that.

    I’ve been to Oxford, England, the city mentioned in the article, and it’s already set up in a mixed-use way. When I visited my ex-wife’s parents in Bremen, Germany, many things were within walking distance from their apartment. Shops, restaurants, a beautiful park, and even the University of Bremen. A trolley system was nearby to take us into town. They didn’t even own a car because a car would have been an unnecessary liability and inconvenience.

    There are towns in America adaptable to the 15-minute rule. College towns like Eugene or Corvallis here in Oregon or Ann Arbor in Michigan, for example. But even there, who’s going to tell anyone they can’t use their car.

    Like the subject line says, it ain’t happening here.

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by  Unseen.


    That depends. Energy costs and/or availability have a way of restructuring society and the way people “feel” now will be irrelevant.




    While I am all for repealing zoning, having multi-use buildings, and having businesses and homes in close proximity–within the bounds of preventing nuisance–I don’t favor making anybody do anything in this regard.

    These things should occur naturally as a result of people seeking out their own wants and needs in a free marketplace. In a free society, city slickers and suburbanites and backwoods folks in the sticks all have the right to use their property in any way compatible with the rights of others and they are not and should not be enemies with each other.

    Also, the so-called “15-Minute City” would still be a failure if the intention is reducing or eliminating automobile usage. The very young, the very old, the blind, the deaf, the parapelegic, the quadriplegic, and the otherwise infirm would still need motorized transportation daily, and everyone would want motorized transportation on cold, messy, wet days like it is where I am and just to experience variety in scenery, food, commerce, culture, and entertainment.

    Those who want to get together with their own property and form their own little Stepford “intentional community” are free to do so, but they should get off the lawn of people who still love their microwave, TV, and steel-belted radials and the variety which, to quote William Cowper “is the spice of life, That give it all it’s flavor.”

    🥎 🌭 🥧 🚘 🇺🇸

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Addendum for clarity
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