The concept of 15-minute cities suggests that all services, amenities, and leisure facilities are accessible within a 15-20 minute walk or cycle from a person’s front door. It means cars aren’t needed to go to the shops, get a haircut, or work out, and the overall aim is to improve a sense of community in local areas, reduce pollution and increase health and fitness.
The idea is often credited to a professor at the Sorbonne University in Paris, Carlos Moreno, who unveiled the model in 2016. It was later implemented and supported by the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, who made it a major part of her re-election campaign in 2020.
But it actually dates back to the 1980s and has been an important aspect of urban planning ideas over the last two decades, introduced in Melbourne, Copenhagen, Utrecht, and Portland under the term “20-minute neighbourhood”.
After Covid-19 lockdowns forced a majority of people to work from home and explore what their local area had to offer, many people have welcomed 15-minute cities.