San Francisco’s Clement Street and the 15-minute city

By Soumya Karlamangla, The New York Times, October 11, 2021

“[R]estaurants and shops on Clement Street, the main artery of the Richmond District in the northwest corner of San Francisco, have been spared the financial ruin seen across other big cities over the past 19 months.

“Few, if any, businesses on the street have permanently closed, according to Morgan Mapes, the president of the Clement Street Merchants Association. […]

“The self-contained nature of Clement Street offers not only an explanation for how it survived the pandemic, but also a window into how cities may change in the next few years.

“Mapes believes [the ‘15-minute city’ concept of a neighborhood that emphasizes convenient access by foot or bike to a range of common needs, especially fresh food] was vital to Clement Street’s success during the pandemic. Even during lockdowns, people living in the area continued to buy groceries and other goods from nearby shops.

“Though the ‘15-minute city’ idea predates the coronavirus, it’s gained traction during the pandemic as people spent more time in their communities and came to dread resuming their former long commutes.

“Proponents of the 15-minute city think it will make us happier, too, as we get to know our neighbors instead of rushing from one thing to the next.”

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