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What is a 15-Minute City? How to Tell If You’re Living in One


The term “15-minute city” was coined by French urbanist, Claude Grunitzky. It refers to a city where everything one needs is within a 15-minute walk, bike or public transit ride away. The idea is that by living in a 15-minute city, you can drastically reduce your dependence on cars. That leads to less traffic and pollution but more opportunities for social interaction and physical activity.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

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So, how can you tell if you’re living in a 15-minute city? There are a few key indicators.

Indicator #1: You Can Get Around Without a Car

In a 15-minute city, you should be able to get around without a car. This doesn’t mean that there are no cars at all. But rather, it means that cars are not the only option for getting around. There should be an extensive public transit system in place that can take you where you need to go. Additionally, the city should be pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly, with plenty of sidewalks and bike lanes.

If you live in a 15-minute city, chances are good that you don’t even own a car. If you do have one, it’s probably just for occasional use. Maybe used only when you need to haul something big or go on a long road trip. Or on a day-to-day basis, walking, biking, or taking public transit is enough to get you where you need to go.

Indicator #2: You Can Find Everything You Need Within 15 Minutes

In a 15-minute city, everything you need should be within easy reach. This includes basic necessities like grocery stores and pharmacies, as well as other services like banks, dry cleaners, and doctors’ offices. Basically, if there’s something you need on a regular basis, you can go to get it in no more than 15 minutes.

This doesn’t mean that there are no places outside of the 15-minute radius. But it means that they aren’t necessary for your everyday life. For example, if you want to go see a movie or visit an art museum, those things are still available but take a bit more effort in getting there.

Indicator #3: There Are Plenty of Places to socialize and recreate Within 15 Minutes

In a 15-minute city, there should be plenty of places where people can socialize and recreation within easy reach. This might include parks, playgrounds, cafes, restaurants, bars, movie theaters, libraries and museums. Basically, anywhere where people can gather and have fun.

The point of having all of these places easily accessible is that it encourages people to interact and leads to a stronger community.

The 15-Minute City Conclusion:

So how can you tell if you’re living in a 15-minute city? Look for these three indicators: ease of transportation without a car; everything you need within close proximity; and plenty of places for recreation and socialization nearby.

If your city meets all three criteria, congratulations—you’re living in a true 15-minute city!

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