This one’s especially for you, local governments. The way we used to get 15-minute neighborhoods, for most of human history, was simple: we just let them happen. We didn’t plan and zone for them in elaborate ways. What’s more relevant is what we didn’t do: rigidly dictate what kind of activity can take place on what block or lot. Today, nearly all of our places can stand to lower the bar to entry to being a local entrepreneur, by getting out of the way of things like in-home businesses, food trucks, farmers’ markets, and pop-up shops, which in too many cities are heavily regulated or banned.

For all that is different about the modern world from that of our ancestors, we still believe this: If you allow people to take steps to meet their own and their neighbors’ needs right in their neighborhoods, they will. And often in ingenious ways.

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