Defining the Buzzword: What's a 15-Minute City?

What does it mean to be a 15-minute city?

February 14, 2021, 11:00 AM PST

By Todd Litman


By Andres Duany and Robert Steuteville:

The 15-minute city is gaining significant traction politically and in planning circles, but what does it mean? Definitions vary, and there is so much slack in the concept—depending on what transportation modes are included—that even conventional suburban sprawl might qualify under some circumstances.

The term offers a two-fold opportunity for urbanists. First, the 15-minute city is a simple enough concept that it resonates with a wide range of people. It was used as a cornerstone of Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s successful reelection in Paris, France, in 2020, and lately former HUD secretary Shaun Donovan has adopted the concept as a key to his New York City mayoral candidacy. Urbanists have an urgent opportunity to help define the 15-minute city, and what it means to sustainable planning and urban design, before it is discredited as a mere political slogan.

Second, the concept can add substantively to the practice of urbanism because it deals with a neglected scale of planning that is larger than the neighborhood, but smaller than the metropolitan region. It shows planners where to locate facilities that serve multiple neighborhoods. It employs conceptual radii drawn on plans in a similar way to urbanists’ familiar quarter-mile "pedestrian shed."

Read more at the source article.

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