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  • I wish I could afford the rent.

  • There is a big problem with air pollution.

  • The city is growing

  • without any kind of order or any kind of planning.

  • Half the world's population live in them,

  • and by the end of the century it will be more like 90%.

  • Over the last sort of 20 years, we've been talking about

  • urbanisation is the way forward,

  • but we've seen during Covid, people's dynamics

  • and priorities are really changing

  • so this is a real moment in time where we have to rethink

  • and almost get behind a new vision of the city.

  • ARCHIVE NARRATOR: Ever watch the morning traffic

  • when people are going to work?

  • Mostly it's one car, one person,

  • a tonne or two of metal

  • that takes up 130 square feet of space, more or less.

  • The main issue of cities is that they are suffering

  • from too many cars.

  • Excessive traffic, the noise...

  • It's very difficult to stay calm

  • in such a stressful environment

  • as a big city.

  • So often we design the city

  • with a view to optimising the city

  • for the paid daytime labour market.

  • So we think about, how many people can we get into the city

  • in the morning and out of the city in the evening?

  • Rather than travelling in from the suburbs to the centre

  • to work, shop and socialise,

  • the 15-minute city takes a different approach.

  • The 15-minute city is a really simple concept,

  • in many ways. It's really just saying that

  • every urban citizen should be able to meet their basic needs

  • within a 15-minute walk or cycle ride from their house.

  • The concept of the 15-minute city was proposed by

  • French-Colombian scientist Carlos Moreno,

  • and aspects of it are starting to be adopted

  • in cities like Paris, Barcelona and Bogotá.

  • It's been described as a return to a local way of life.

  • New technologies creates a lot of opportunities

  • to work from home,

  • to do more things in the neighbourhood,

  • to get rid of this separation of work and living.

  • That also would reduce

  • the pollution that goes with traffic.

  • The 15-minute city revolves around three basic principles.

  • Before the Covid pandemic,

  • the average UK worker

  • spent 400 days of their lives commuting.

  • That's enough time to read

  • the entire Harry Potter series 159 times.

  • When we foreground infrastructure

  • or we foreground cars, we strip out

  • the thing that makes the city the city,

  • which is the interaction of people and creation of culture.

  • When we get rid of all those parked cars in the roads

  • and all the traffic, we create lots of space

  • for greening the city with trees

  • and this also creates lots of opportunities

  • to meet your friends in the street.

  • My favourite thing about living in the city -

  • the quality of public space, which encourage you of

  • spending a lot of time outside and meeting with other people.

  • Implementing the 15-minute city

  • would mean a significant redesign of our infrastructure.

  • Is that feasible?

  • In many cities across the world,

  • we've had kind of 50 years of planning policy

  • that is about zoning,

  • which is about separating different types of activity

  • in the city where you would go for shopping

  • or for work or for home life.

  • And so to be able to make that kind of pivot into a 15-minute

  • or a localised neighbourhood is a huge stretch for some places.

  • The concept of the 15-minute city also has its critics.

  • Some fear it could ghettoise poorer people

  • whose neighbourhoods don't have the jobs and amenities

  • found in more affluent communities.

  • A lot of places do not have enough infrastructure,

  • especially places where low-income groups live.

  • And it's a major, major wealth and economic gap there.

  • It's clear that there are different levels

  • of liberty and freedom to access public space,

  • depending on all sorts of categories

  • of identity, including gender,

  • but also race, also levels of poverty.

  • We have an imbalance about who gets to shape public spaces,

  • who gets to make those decisions.

  • So if we can democratise that and if we can open up

  • and have more participation

  • about what kind of spaces do we want to live in,

  • then we have more likelihood

  • that our spaces are going to suit more people.

  • TON VONEHOVEN: Currently we have

  • a very strong decline of biodiversity,

  • partially due to agriculture practices,

  • but also because of urbanisation.

  • If we green the city, we create more opportunity for rainwater

  • infiltrating in the soil.

  • That will also enhance a healthy ecosystem

  • and I think if we look into the future, the next generations,

  • what do we want to have those people experience -

  • a rich biodiversity or a poor biodiversity?

  • This is the choice that we have to make,

  • and with the 15-minute city,

  • this is a way to solve this crisis.

I wish I could afford the rent.

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B1 minute biodiversity traffic public space foreground people

Should we all live in 15-minute cities? | BBC Ideas

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    Summer posted on 2022/07/27
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