What is the “15-minute city,” and should we be worried?

What is the “15-minute city,” and should we be worried?

The explosion of conspiracy theories about the “15-minute city” highlights the question, what is it?

The 15-minute city isn’t a new idea — it’s how many old parts of older cities actually work — but its increasing use as a model for redesigning neighborhoods has been met with intense speculation that some of the idea’s supporters have malicious intentions.

While some with a more conspiratorial view see sinister motives, much of the conflict over the events as they occur on the ground feels like an age-old conflict over territory – who will use the road.

At its core, the 15-Minute City is the idea that a person is able to do most of their daily lives within a 15-minute radius around where they live, and the plot aspect revolves around forcing that lifestyle on people.

Among the most disturbing conspiracy theories to emerge are suggestions that the 15-minute city is merely a stalking horse to pave the way for climate lockdowns – similar to Covid lockdowns – with residents forcibly confined to their neighborhoods to control emissions.

In this country, Hamilton is pursuing the idea of ​​a 20-minute city, and says she has heard some concerns along the lines of those promoted in conspiracy theories.

The idea of ​​the 15-minute city is more developed in some other countries. For example, in the UK, many councils have stopped private cars from using some streets as driveways – a move seen as a step towards the kind of neighborhoods that the 15-minute city idea is trying to create.

Conspiracy theorists are trying to raise fears that the idea of ​​the 15-minute city is the precise end of an authoritarian wedge.
Martin Pope/Getty Images

Conspiracy theorists are trying to raise fears that the idea of ​​the 15-minute city is the precise end of an authoritarian wedge.

One way to restrict car use across neighborhoods is to take photos of the license plates of cars that pass through certain points, called filters. Drivers who aren’t supposed to be there get a fine.

In the English city of Oxford, residents of so-called Low Traffic Neighborhoods (LTN) can apply for a permit to drive through filters for up to 100 days a year. Residents living in the rest of Oxfordshire can apply for a permit to drive through filters for up to 25 days a year.

So, there is more bureaucracy, more state control, but the main issue seems to be around the use of private cars.

And it is heated. An angry debate has raged over the Oxford project, and even the UK government has appeared to be joining the fray.

In October, it announced what it called the “drivers’ plan.” One of the “measures” proposed by the national plan is to “prevent local authorities from using so-called 15-minute cities to monitor people’s lives.” Another is: “New guidelines for low-traffic neighborhoods.”

While the plan may be seen as an attempt by an unpopular Conservative government to win votes, it also suggests that concerns about how the 15-minute city idea will be used are not limited to an extreme fringe.

The closure of some streets to traffic in Oxford is said to mean much longer travel times on the remaining roads.

One woman told the Daily Mail that journeys that used to take four minutes now take 30 to 40 minutes, and the Telegraph reported on a popular private school that said teachers were quitting, or deciding not to join the school, because of the long travel times it caused. By LTN networks.

Candidate on a street in Oxford, UK, during a low-traffic neighbourhood

Oxfordshire County Council

Candidate on a street in Oxford, UK, during a low-traffic neighbourhood

In a letter to the local council, Magdalen College said a bus journey that previously took nine minutes could now take nearly an hour.

In an article published in the British magazine New Statesman, which describes itself as “progressive,” American writer Michael Lind said that although “there was no Davos conspiracy to lock everyone in 15-minute concentration camps,” the 15-minute city was “the city of Davos.” “The dream of the upper class and the nightmare of the working class.”

Most working-class people living in the suburbs relied on cars to get them to work and to go shopping. Lind wrote that they could be “forgiven for resenting ecosystems whose cost falls on them in the ocean, rather than on high-level professionals in pleasant urban areas.”

Paris-based urbanist Carlos Moreno is credited with describing a “15-minute city.”

“In short, the idea is that cities should be designed or redesigned so that people are able to live in the core of what constitutes urban life, within a 15-minute walk or bike ride,” Moreno said. expertise.”

The dysfunction and indignities of modern cities must no longer be accepted for the sake of justice, well-being and climate.

Kay Schurer/Staff

The bike lanes were nothing more than a line drawn on the road. Do we need more expensive separate bike paths? Stuff’s senior reporter Will Harvey tests them both before issuing his judgement.

In a survey conducted by King’s College London, participants were asked about a range of conspiracy theories, and found that 33% believed it was likely or certain that 15-minute cities were “an attempt by governments to restrict people’s personal freedom and keep them under surveillance.” .

A third of those questioned in Britain said they were less likely to believe official information because of the way the government and media behaved during Covid.

Suggestions for an institutional response to Covid that has damaged public trust are discussed in a 2022 article by researchers from the UK, US and Canada, in the journal BMJ Global Health.

They wrote that it is likely that “many alternative explanations for the pandemic, often called conspiracy theories, were more entrenched when vaccine policies were aggressively implemented in 2021.”

This created a “strong confirmation bias that governments and corporate powers were behaving in an authoritarian manner.”

“Furthermore, multiple perceptions and social logics about science, technology, corporate power, and governments have been grafted into the public discussion about COVID-19 vaccines, especially regarding authoritarian biosurveillance capabilities.”

The goal of the 15-minute city concept is for most amenities to be a short walk or bike ride away.

Kieran Ridley/Getty Images

The goal of the 15-minute city concept is for most amenities to be a short walk or bike ride away.

An article published on the University of Kent website in April said that the concept of the 15-minute city is seen by some as a threat to individual autonomy, and that a sense of independence and control over the environment is a basic psychological need.

Research has shown a relationship between the frustration caused by this need and increased belief in conspiracy theories.

The University of Kent article suggested that conspiracy theories about 15-minute cities were included in a wider conspiracy theory known as the Great Reset.

Under this theory, “the unelected global elite are allegedly reshaping society and permanently changing life as we know it.”

The phrase “The Great Reset” was used by World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab in a June 2020 article on how to fix the world’s problems. It was titled: “Now is the Time for a ‘Great Reset’.”

Publication of the article led to the resurfacing of a 2016 World Economic Forum video featuring eight predictions for 2030. Prediction 1, placed on the face of a smiling man, was: “You will have nothing. You will be happy.”

Nothing moves on an Auckland highway during the coronavirus lockdown in March 2020. One conspiracy theory is that 15-minute cities are being created to pave the way for climate lockdowns.

David White/Staff

Nothing moves on an Auckland highway during the coronavirus lockdown in March 2020. One conspiracy theory is that 15-minute cities are being created to pave the way for climate lockdowns.

According to many scientific articles on the Internet, there is nothing new about conspiracy theories.

“Belief in conspiracy theories…is a widespread and culturally universal phenomenon,” according to a 2018 article in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Conspiracy theories have been widespread throughout human history, with research supporting the idea that they were common before people had access to modern communication technologies.

But in the past, a 2022 article in Convergence noted, conspiracy theories have mostly operated in what has been described as social and cultural spheres, with varying degrees of uniqueness and deviance.

In contrast, these days conspiracy theories are highly visible on social media platforms.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *