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The 15-minute city is a residential urban concept in which most daily necessities and services, such as work, shopping, education, health, and leisure, should be located within an easily reachable 15-minute walk or bike ride from any point in the city. This approach aims to reduce car dependency, promote healthy and sustainable living, and overall improve the quality of life for city dwellers.
Implementing the 15-Minute City concept requires a multi-disciplinary approach, involving transportation planning, urban design, and policymaking, to create well-designed public spaces, pedestrian-friendly streets, and mixed-use developments. Moreover, this lifestyle shift may be fostered by the implementation of information and communications technology (ICT), mainly that of remote work, which can reduce unnecessary daily commuting.The concept has been described as a "return to a local way of life".
The concept roots can be traced in pre-modern urban planning traditions, where walkability and community living were the primary focus before the advent of street networks and automobiles. In recent times, it builds upon similar pedestrian-centered principles found in New Urbanism, TOD, and other similar proposals that promote walkability, mixed-use developments, and compact, livable communities. Numerous models have been proposed about how the concept can be implemented, like 15-minute cities being built from a series of smaller 5-minute neighborhoods, also known as complete communities or walkable neighborhoods.
The concept gained significant traction in recent years after Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo included a plan to implement the 15-minute city concept during her 2020 re-election campaign, inspired by French-Colombian scientist Carlos Moreno who in 2016 coined the term. Since then, a number of cities worldwide have adopted the same goal and many researchers have used the 15-minute model as a spatial analysis tool to evaluate accessibility levels within the urban fabric.