Where the ‘15-minute city’ falls short

By Feargus O’Sullivan, Bloomberg CityLab, March 2, 2021

“The idea of a ‘15-minute city,’ in which residents live within a short walk or bike ride of all their daily needs has been embraced by many mayors around the world during the global pandemic as a central planning tenet.

“But there are dangers of applying a model conceived in Europe to many North American cities, some urban experts warn. Transplanting the 15-minute city template across the Atlantic could be ‘presumptive and colonial,’ said Toronto-based urban designer and thinker Jay Pitter at the CityLab 2021 conference hosted by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Aspen Institute.

“ ‘We’ve actually designed cities to create buffers between us across race and class specifically, and this proposal completely ignores a century of planning interventions that have actually concretized deep social divisions between people,’ Pitter added.

Dan Hill, strategic director of Vinnova, Sweden’s national innovation agency, suggested that “an ambitious goal such as the 15-minute city requires cities to abandon the traditional notion of urban planning as divorced from other policies … such as health care, social services, and environmental policy.”

Pitter further noted, “Some cities, and neighborhoods might go from a 45-minute city to maybe a 20-minute city — and that would be significant progress. Some places will go from 60 minutes to 50 minutes and that too will be significant progress.”

Read the full article here. (~3 min.)

According to a March 15, 2021, East Bay Times article by George Avalos, several ‘15-minute city’ projects are proposed for downtown San Jose and other Bay Area cities. Read that story here.

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