Championing a Re-Envisioned 15-Minute City

Cities everywhere are acknowledging the acceleration of new working practices, future life-style choices, and the post COVID world, providing the opportunity to re-envisage what local means and be creative in harnessing new experiences.

With the world’s changes in mind, the concept of a 15-minute city, developed by the Franco-Colombian academic Carlos Moreno, has captured the imagination of place makers, planners, architects, and civic leadership to address the challenges of local centers.

For example, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has pledged to implement plans in which pedestrians and cyclists are prioritized over cars. The aspiration would allow Parisians to reach everything they need within a 15-minute walk or cycle trip. Stateside in Portland, Oregon, city planners have developed localized strategies with a focus on key tenets of the 15-minute city at the core. Down under in Melbourne, a 2017-2050 plan is set to shape the future growth strategy of the city, guided by the principles of a 20-minute neighborhood, with key amenity access, safe cycling, and local transport options to connect to the local community. Up north, Ottowa has drafted a new official plan called ‘Five Big Moves,’ in which the city unpacks components of the 15-minute city as they evolve across urban, suburb and rural areas. These principles support intensification, economic development, energy and climate change, gender equity and culture.

Six attributes to a successful 15-minute center

Carlos Moreno’s Parisian model has identified essential living needs to be met within a 15-minute walk across 6 broad categories.


Four new attributes through the lens of placemaking

The spark that created the earliest centers was the fundamental need for people to gather around easily accessible places to socially engage, exchange goods, services and ideas. In this same vein, placemaking aims to capitalize on a local community’s assets, inspiration, and potential, with the intention of creating spaces that promote people’s health, happiness, and well-being.