The "15-minute city" may be coming to a town near you

CityLab Daily

In a Paris minute: Paris has been pushing forward since before Covid-19 hit with the "15-minute city" concept, a re-imagination of towns that gives residents everything they need within walking or biking distance of their homes. In the wake of the pandemic, the concept has gotten a boost globally, becoming "a powerful brand for planners and politicians desperate to sell residents on a carbon-lite existence," as Laura Bliss and Feargus O'Sullivan write.

It's one thing to implement that idea in areas that were almost completely shaped before the automobile was invented, as in many European cities. But the challenge is far greater in the younger, sprawling cities of North America or Australia, where cars remain the dominant form of transit. Achievements in places like Detroit and Portland have been modest thus far, as urban planners also grapple with financial uncertainty and social inequities.

With climate change, Covid-19 and political upheaval renewing interest in a more local and somewhat slower way of life, can the 15-minute city work outside of Europe — without leaving anyone out? Bliss and O'Sullivan report for Businessweek:  The 15-Minute City—No Cars Required—Is Urban Planning's New Utopia

-Linda Poon

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What we're reading

  • How migrants are making London their own (The New York Review)
  • Why Democrats lost so many South Texas Latinos: the economy (Wall Street Journal)
  • How Allegheny County delivered Pennsylvania to Joe Biden (Public Source)
  • As winter looms, seniors are forming Covid-19 pods to ward off isolation (Fast Company)
  • Did Virgin Hyperloop just invent the world's crappiest high-speed rail? (Defector)

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