Fifteen minutes city is one in which every basic amenity is reachable by foot and/or bikes from your house within fifteen minutes. Cars optional.
While urbanist Carlos Moreno coined the term in 2016, the concept itself is as old as mankind.
Every city that was built prior the automobiles and -paraphrasing Jason from Not Just Bikes- didn’t get bulldozed for them is a fifteen minutes city. Even though they do suffer some level of car-dependency, many cities in Europe and East Asia still easily fall to this category. Basically, if you have lived in those regions, you almost definitely have lived in one.
Now, let’s talk about the conspiracy. Supposedly, it started because of what is happening in Oxford.
Apart from embracing a fifteen minutes vision, the city council also plans to heftily fine any drivers who drive into certain zones too many times. I don’t know if the fifteen minutes vision and drivers’ fine were intended as one package. But, I do know the controversy about the latter is overblown.
The fine is actually an extreme form of road congestion pricing and, like fifteen minutes city, it is also not a new concept. Singapore created it in 1975 and London has been implementing it since 2003; in fact, London’s charge zone is one of the biggest in the world.
Personally, I am not a fan of congestion pricing. If you want to tackle congestion, you need to prevent it from happening in the first place. You have to design the city in a way that most residents prefer walking, cycling and mass transit commuting over driving; you have to minimise the presence of cars. Prevention is better than cure.
Congestion pricing only targets drivers. Non-drivers AKA pedestrians, cyclists and mass transit commuters can easily go to other neighbourhoods as many times as they desire without getting fined. Besides, you still can drive to any places you want, albeit with a higher price; literally no one and I mean NO ONE is forcing you to stay in your neighbourhoods forever.
To be honest, as infuriating as it is, I am not surprised by the blooming popularity of this conspiracy “theory”. Some people – including you – have misguided ideas of freedom, including one involving transportation.
You believe any kinds of restrictions – even the most reasonable and minor ones – are tyrannical. You are such absolutists with their idea of freedom, you think even constructive criticisms are censorship attempts.
When you have such extreme worldview regarding freedom, you believe in the slippery slope fallacy that every restriction leads to totalitarianism. In this case, you believe cars represent freedom of movement and any restrictions against them is the same as calculated efforts to imprison you within your own neighbourhoods.
Your extremeness also closes your minds.
Every time you watch urban planning Youtube videos, you are always dismissive of the content despite the cited studies showing the harms of car-dependency and the benefits of dense, walkable and transit-oriented urban developments.
You love twisting other people’s words. Even though most urbanists never propose a complete ban of cars on cities, you insist that they always do. Even though there are no evidences the Oxford city council want to confine people to their neighbourhoods, you insist that has always been the intention.
When I try dispelling misconceptions about fifteen minutes city, you insist your definition is the right one and the one I provide is wrong, even though a simple google search would show my definition (Carlos Moreno’s, to be exact) has existed for far longer than yours.
You – a gullible fuck who falls for an unproven conspiracy “theory” – also has the gall to call me a sheep, simply because I refuse to humour you.
You are extreme because you want the world to revolve around the needs of people like you, consequentially making your so-called championing of freedom hypocritical.
In the North American context, you support local governments mandating the existence of (sub)urban sprawls where cars are the only viable mode of transports… because you believe there is nothing freer than being forced to own and drive cars and being trapped in daily traffic jams and endless financial burdens.
In a more global context, you celebrate with glee every time a cyclist is killed on the roads; you believe anyone who dare to use roads other than for driving deserve to be executed. Freedom is only for those who surrender themselves to cars.
No, I am not being unfairly judgemental here. I have had my share of interacting with the likes of you. You are literally guilty of those things.
I want to assume nuances from your arguments. But, I always end up disappointed. The more I interact with you, the more I see how close-minded you are.
You are far worse than I expected.
It is just as frustrating as talking about religions.
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