How the U.S. Can Create More 15-Minute Cities, Starting with the Suburbs

The 15-Minute City: The Future of Urban Living

Cities across the globe are racing to declare themselves as 15-minute metros, promising accessibility to housing, shopping, schools, and work within a 15-minute walk, bike, or transit ride. This innovative concept has been adopted by numerous cities, including Paris, Sydney, Melbourne, Ann Arbor, Cleveland, and Portland, among others.

However, not everyone is on board with the 15-minute city idea. Critics claim that it may confine people within a short radius of their homes, while others believe it’s impractical to fit everyone’s job within a 15-minute walk. Despite these objections, the 15-minute city serves as a potential solution to the housing and climate crises. By reducing reliance on cars and allowing people to live within close proximity to essential amenities, the 15-minute city aims to enhance both convenience and freedom.

Historically, the shift from rural to urban living during the Industrial Revolution has led to a significant increase in urban population. This urban migration has contributed to human prosperity, with 80 percent of the world’s economic activity now occurring in cities. However, cities are grappling with issues such as congestion and affordability, forcing people to seek housing in far suburbs or exurbs. This trend has also led to a surge in greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, further exacerbating the environmental impact.

The rise of the 15-minute city model, conceptualized by Carlos Moreno in 2016, aligns with the goal of promoting sustainability and health by reducing car dependence and increasing physical activity. Embracing a decentralized urban planning approach, the 15-minute city has gained momentum and attracted urban activists worldwide. However, the concept raises the question of how an entire city’s population can live within close proximity to all amenities and jobs. This challenges the traditional model of urban planning, rooted in Marchetti’s constant which suggests that people tend to travel no more than one hour per day.

The tension between practicality and idealism arises when considering the 15-minute city’s impact on commuting and daily activities. While it may optimize free time and quality of life by fostering local businesses and amenities, it must also balance the proximity of job opportunities within a reasonable commuting distance for all individuals. The United States, which has heavily relied on personal vehicles, is facing the challenge of transitioning towards a 15-minute city model.

Despite these challenges, the United States has already laid the groundwork for 15-minute cities through the development of its first suburbs in the 1890s. These older, inner-ring communities were built around mixed-use developments alongside fast, affordable transportation – providing a blueprint for the 15-minute city concept. As cities continue to evolve, the idea of the 15-minute city presents an opportunity to reimagine urban living, with a focus on sustainability, accessibility, and overall well-being.


Denial of responsibility! Vigour Times is an automatic aggregator of Global media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, and all materials to their authors. For any complaint, please reach us at – [email protected]. We will take necessary action within 24 hours.
DMCA compliant image

Leave a Comment