Mobility explained: 15-minute city

I’m going to try to introduce different terms here to bring insights and knowledge for all Telraam Talks members. Some of these will be familiar to you, some may not. I hope we can all learn from them, and if you have more to add, PLEASE do add your thoughts in the discussion below.

15-minute city


The term covers an urban theory and an urban model that cities can use to ensure that all residents are able to access their daily needs (work, housing, food, health, education, and culture and leisure) within the distance of a 15-minute walk or bike ride.
(Obel Award)

The concept of a 15-minute city or neighbourhood is an urban planning and design approach that aims to create communities where residents have easy access to essential services, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, schools, parks, and other amenities, within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from their homes.

It seems the idea was proposed as far back as the 1920s by Clarence Perry, but really gained prominence recently when Prof Carlos Moreno proposed and developed this idea in 2016, and it was taken up by the pioneering Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo.

If implemented locally, the benefits are numerous. Firstly, it promotes active transportation such as walking or cycling, reducing dependence on private vehicles and thereby reducing traffic congestion, noise, and air pollution. This not only makes the streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists, but it also reduces the carbon footprint of the neighbourhood, contributing to the fight against climate change.

Secondly, a 15-minute neighbourhood can improve the quality of life for residents, as they have easier access to essential services and can save time on commuting. This can result in a more vibrant community, with a stronger sense of belonging, and increased social interaction among residents.

15-minute neighbourhoods also support local businesses by increasing foot traffic and promoting a more vibrant local economy because instead of commuting, residents stay in the area to buy lunch, get coffee, shop for gifts, etc. This can help to create job opportunities and generate economic growth within the community, and supporting a more diverse range of opportunities, and encouraging commercial creativity.

In their original proposed form, they are also greener, collaborative and equitable spaces.

Overall, the 15-minute neighbourhood concept is a promising approach to creating sustainable, liveable, and healthy communities, and can have a significant impact on local vehicle traffic by reducing the number of cars on the road and promoting alternative modes of transportation.

Recent Controversy

Unfortunately it seems that conspiracy theorists have decided to attack the model, choosing to completely misunderstand the idea and representing it instead as a way of forcing people to stay in an area and restricting travel out of it.

While the idea is preposterous, it has gained traction, particularly where investments to build local communities are linked to other interventions such as modal filters and low traffic neighbourhoods designed to limit the rat-runs and other pass-through traffic that limit the ability to use the street for more social or commercial activities.

Hopefully the added focus on the idea will eventually result in more reasoned discussions and more interest in different ways to implement it.

More information:


if you know of alternative terms or names for this description, please let me know

NL: 15-minutenstad
FR: ville des 15 minutes
DE: 15 minuten stadt
ES: ciudad de 15 minutos
PT: cidade de 15 minutos

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An interesting and in-depth conversation on this topic I just came across: