April 22, 2021
Having everything you need close to home could make you healthier. It could even build stronger bonds between you and your neighbors.
This is the idea behind the 15-minute city. It’s a place where people can get all the services they need within 15 minutes of home, on foot or by bike. This model is being developed in cities around the world.
Carlos Moreno is a scientific director at IAE Paris Sorbonne Business School, in France. He’s also a key theorist behind the 15-minute-city plan for Paris. “My vision is a livable city that increases the quality of life,” Moreno told TIME for Kids.
Moreno’s vision was inspired by the need to fight climate change. In a 15-minute city, car travel is not a priority. The focus is on building more sidewalks and bike lanes. Moreno says walking or biking “is a good way to radically reduce carbon dioxide emissions.”
Anne Hidalgo is Paris’s mayor. She plans to build 15-minute communities all over the city. That means removing 60,000 parking spaces by 2024. Bike lanes would run along every street.
This design does more than benefit the planet. It promotes a healthier way of life.
Joe Zehnder is chief planner for the city of Portland, Oregon. He’s developing “20-minute neighborhoods.” Having grocery stores close to home gives people better access to healthy foods, Zehnder says. That gives them “the ability to make healthier choices.”
Zehnder has another important goal: to make neighborhoods inclusive .
As a neighborhood becomes more convenient, housing costs can increase. This leaves a lot of people out. Zehnder’s plan is to “create more housing of more types.” That way, “households in different economic situations can live there,” he says.
Moreno supports this. He says the “new economic and social model” should be to create places that all people can call home.