The concept of 15-minute cities has been successfully introduced in other cities and areas across the world.
According to Wired, support for car reduction measures tend to “increase over time” and cities like Copenhagen, which has set up neighbourhoods where amenities are located within a 15-minute walking distance, is considered one of the best places to live in the world.
But there appears to be some fear-mongering about what exactly a 15-minute city entails and how it would work.
One of the key opposing claims is that having everything within a 15-minute walk or cycle distance is an attempt to stop people from using their cars at all or from going anywhere further than 15 minutes away.
Hirra Khan Adeogun, head of car-free cities at climate charity Possible, previously told the Big Issue: “When we talk about a car-free city, we don’t mean one where there are no cars at all. What we mean is a city that is free of the dangers of cars, as well as emissions and pollution that comes from mass car dominance.”
Yet some social media users still falsely claim 15-minute cities are restricting freedom and forcing people to only stay within their “designated zones”, suggesting it is a “communist conspiracy” and comparing the idea to the “ghettos” created by Nazi Germany in the 1940s.
Others suggest the idea is simply an underhanded way of imposing “climate lockdowns”, using language popularised during the Covid-19 pandemic in criticising the regulations imposed by the government for public health purposes.
Nick Fletcher, Conservative MP for Don Valley in South Yorkshire, spoke in parliament on February 9 to call 15-minute cities an “international socialist concept” that would take away “personal freedoms” and said low-emissions zones “do untold economic damage to any city”.
He later wrote on Twitter that he believes in achieving “net zero and in having a strong local economy” but said “destroying our towns and cities and keeping us prisoners in our communities” through a 15-minute city proposal is “not the way”.
Hopkins also said it was part of a trend of “coercive control” by the government.
There is no evidence that any of these claims are true, so let’s debunk a few.