Today’s Cities vs. Yesterday’s Cities and Moreno’s 15 Minutes City – Georgios Ardavanis (Ph.D.)

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This is the evolution of contemporary city planning. Instead of being based on best practices, it is ideological. They are too terrified to study the past to discover how to design lovely streets and effective city planning. As a result, they consistently attempt to innovate. Therefore, this is a typical example of the pig we aim to paint. Dysfunctional modernist districts revitalize them, but it only works sometimes.  

Professor of business and science at the Sorbonne University in Paris, Carlos Moreno, is the target of death threats and conspiracy theories because of his urban planning idea. According to Moreno’s “15-minute city” concept, typical locations like workplaces, stores, and schools should be just a short stroll or bike ride from where you live. This is not new. Before trains and cars made high-speed transportation possible, all cities were 15-minute cities. Each neighborhood functioned as a self-contained urban ecosystem where you could get everything you needed using the only transportation you likely had available: yourself. Over the decades, auto-oriented planning increased the distances between our homes and destinations. Economic forces and racist planning practices further eroded the historical densities of American and European communities. It was endorsed by nearly 100 mayors across the globe to aid in the pandemic’s recovery.

Rumors that 15-minute cities were a forerunner to “climate change lockdowns”—urban “prison camps” where citizens’ movements would be strictly monitored—have flooded the proposal in recent weeks. These unfounded accusations have been spread online, at protests, and even in public hearings, partly thanks to supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory and climate change skeptics. Moreno experienced abuse via email and online forums. He was charged with working for a secret global totalitarian government without any supporting proof. 

Georgios Ardavanis – 07/07/2023

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