The 15-minute city is an urban concept where most daily necessities can be accomplished by either walking or cycling.
Much research has been done on the effects of commuting on wellbeing. For example, this study finds that, “each minute added to a commute affects anxiety, happiness, and general well being.” Given the recent trend of remote work, less people need to commute to the office. Despite working from home, many people still need to drive or take public transportation to access essential services.
In addition, a walkable neighbourhood means less cars on the road, less people taking public transportation, and thus less pollution.
This 15-minute city concept explains why I love living in New York City. Nearly every neighbourhood is its own “15-minute city”. I joke around with friends that I don’t leave my neighbourhood. Everything I need is here: grocery stores, banks, pharmacies, restaurants, shops, gyms, subway stations, and parks. This high walk score is why we pay a premium to live in cities.
However, I’m fortunate that I’m able to afford living in a city like New York. The soaring rent and housing prices are unaffordable to many. This is a big problem in urban planning sphere. How can we make the 15-minute city be accessible for everyone?