Friday Funny: Tired of Walkability? Try the ‘15-Hour City’

Worried that a 15-minute city will restrict your freedoms? Welcome to the alternative.

1 minute read

March 10, 2023, 5:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Woman in car stuck in traffic, leaning on her elbow in frustration

BalanceFormCreative / Stuck in traffic

In a sendup of recent conspiracy theories surrounding the “15-minute city” concept, Devin Wallace, writing on the satirical website McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, presents a new idea: the 15-hour city.

If you’re worried about the government confining citizens to life inside a walkable 15-minute box, then we invite you to the 15-Hour City: a metropolis so sprawling and convoluted to navigate only by car, you’ll need over half the day to accomplish the basic necessities of living.

While opponents of the 15-minute city worry that their mobility will be restricted, Wallace writes, “Here, you can travel anywhere you want, as long as it’s on the handful of roads we afford to maintain with a gas-guzzling car that costs half your paycheck.”

As Wallace explains, “The 15-Hour City believes everything has its place. Houses go in one location, businesses in another, and in between is a dark sea of soul-crushing concrete and asphalt, a sea of inactivity mimicking the lifeless labyrinth we’ve constructed.”

After describing more of the imagined ‘benefits’ of this ludicrous dystopia (and a reality for many Americans), Wallace concludes, “The 15-Hour City represents what we think are all the best qualities of a modern city: a lack of social connections, a profound sense of alienation, and a constant stream of being flipped off by drivers from New Jersey.”

Wednesday, March 1, 2023 in McSweeney's

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