Have You Heard of the 15 Minute City?
While it seems like an amazing concept, the questions come up:
- Why haven’t we (in North America) been doing this all along?
- Why does it have to be ‘built from scratch’?
- How are we integrating a sense of market competition as opposed to pre-determined, plutocratic hubs around a WalMart and a Costco?
Take a walk down Bloor Street in Toronto, especially somewhere like Jane & Bloor.
There are dozens of small shops catering to most needs of the average citizen, especially when it comes to food. Admittedly, I haven’t visited the area in the last few years, but I’m hopeful that the landscape has remained relatively stable.
THIS is what a 15-minute city is all about:
- Walkable shopping within a few minutes or even feet of your home
- Integrated social activities and economic prosperity and not just another pretend way to make it easier for people to be dependent on one or two mega-big-box suppliers
- No cars and decent public transit
- My fav: LOTS of biking lanes as well as storage to support cyclists and a multitude of wide, promenade-like walkways
This article references Paris right out of the gate. Like many (most) European cities, development was based on pre-existing limitations like no cars (there weren’t many 2,000 years ago or so); no transportation beyond walking and a mind-set that encouraged hub-like sales and economies. People traded with people. Everyone was elevated as a result.
When we set things up like a hub in North America, all we get is a giant centrifuge that whips cash out of the pockets of inhabitants and continues to ensure that only a handful of businesses (and not even people directly) will benefit.
So, sure, let’s do the 15-minute city.
But let’s do it RIGHT.