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What is a 15 minute city and how does it work?



City planners say we need to rethink how cities are built to be more sustainable, healthy and equitable. The so-called 15 Minute City is his one of these proposals.

Only 20 years ago, more people lived in rural than urban areas, but that has changed.near today 56% of the Earth’s total population lives in cities because it tends to continue to grow, “15 minute town” It is a proposal that seeks to support how these types of areas can be thought of.

According to the United Nations, about two-thirds 10 billion people Those that come to live on our planet in 2050 will inhabit cities.

The coherent urban sprawl, among other things, reveals cracks in planning and sheds light on issues such as: social injustice and exclusion , inadequate public transport networks, and the health effects associated with smog in the air in cities. But there are ideas that are gaining momentum recently on the road to a healthier and more sustainable future. “15 minute town” .

This concept is inspired by the intention to plan cities in such a way that all the inputs and services necessary for everyday life are available. Distance covered in 15 minutes on foot or by bicycle.

Carlos Moreno, an urban planner and professor at the Sorbonne University in Paris, first proposed the idea in 2016. Stores, schools, medical services, gyms, parks, restaurants, cultural venues .

Many city dwellers today would dream of that level of access. Traffic jams and poor transport services to get them where they want to go.

Design with people in mind

To create more sustainable cities, parks, sports spaces, cinemas and shops, says Benjamin Büttner, mobility expert at the Technical University of Munich: they have to move to where people live not vice versa.

Experts explain that this does not necessarily mean that urban spaces need to be dismantled and rebuilt.According to him, all you need is Reuse existing space .

A “15 minute city” must be accompanied by its own mobility concept. Fewer cars and more space for cyclists and pedestrians , and safe routes for girls and boys, the elderly and people with reduced ability. Space for social interaction should also not be lacking.

“Cars are a serious problem, at least in urban areas.” Buttner says. “They take up a lot of space and impede active movement,” he adds.

From Paris to Shanghai, a city under reconstruction

currently about 16 cities around the world Companies that have adopted or are preparing to adopt this model or a model similar to it.Some think distance 20 minutes minimum , other 10. Some cities prefer to develop specific districts, while other concepts cover the entire city.

One of the pioneers is Paris. After Carlos Moreno unveiled his city vision in 2016, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo incorporated it into his campaign program, started implementing it during the pandemic .

The Paris concept sees the school as the “capital” and the center of each district.of The schoolyard will be reborn as a park so that it can be used for other activities after school and on weekends.

Paris also wants to change the use of Half of 140,000 parking spaces , turn them into green spaces, playgrounds, community centers, or bicycle parking lots. The streets of Paris are well-suited to facilitate biking, a process that is scheduled to end in 2026.

Also in 2016, Shanghai announced the so-called “15 Minute Community Boundaries” a plan that guarantees access to all activities of daily life within 15 minutes. Another 50 cities in China could adopt the same concept .

Barcelona’s “superblock”

In Spain, the city of Barcelona conducts a phone call experiment “Super Block” The concept incorporates several housing blocks into a “superblock”. Only residents or providers can access it by car, with a maximum speed of 10 kilometers per hour.

Many streets are blocked to traffic. An old parking lot has been transformed into a green space. planting vegetables and flowers .

Buttner calls all this “Tactical Urbanism” : The concept is tested for 1-2 months, after which it is evaluated whether the situation has improved or worsened.Barcelona could see a decline in superblocks Up to 21% car traffic .

Many retailers are questioning the “15 minute city” because they fear sales will plummet if customers can’t drive to their stores. However, in Portland, USA, 20% less vehicle traffic Implementation of the 20-minute perimeter increased local commerce by $1.2 billion.

Expert Buttner argues that dialogue is needed to move this type of city forward. among officials, citizens and other social actors .

in the end, “The social, economic and ecological makeup of each city is diverse. Determining the appropriate measures for each location will depend on each situation. ”

Source: Biobiochile

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