Is the concept a blessing or a curse?

Have you ever found yourself behind the wheel, seething with rage when new bollards prevent you from using a shortcut?

Or swerving to stay out of a little-used bike lane? If so, it’s a fair bet that you may be experiencing the latest concept in urban planning: the 15-minute city.

This scheme, developed by Franco-Colombian scientist Carlos Moreno, proposes that people should be able to find all the amenities they need (shops, healthcare, schools, entertainment) within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from their homes.

Their aim is to eliminate the need for people to visit city centers (and even when they do, it is likely to only be by public transport), thus reducing car use and benefiting the environment.

Roads trodden by rats will be blocked so people can form community-minded urban villages.

Royal Assent – Queen Mother Square in the King’s Pet Building Project, Poundbury, Dorset, being built along the 15 minute city lines

The idea is gaining ground. Oxford, Bristol, Canterbury and Sheffield councils have put forward plans to introduce elements of the 15-minute city, while Bath is also talking about it.

King Charles’ favorite building project, Poundbury in Dorset, is built along 15-minute city lines, with business and residential property co-existing.

The city of 15 minutes has its critics. Some claim that pressuring people to stay in their own neighborhoods is an outrageous attack on their personal freedom.

Furthermore, they argue that it will have a disastrous effect on city centers, creating more empty stores.

Nick Fletcher, Conservative MP for Don Valley, speaking in the House of Commons, described it as an “international socialist concept” and called for a debate.

Planners and architects disagree. “The goal is not to seal off communities,” says Jorge Beroiz, director of the award-winning architecture studio CRTK.

“If carefully designed into the existing environment, the 15-minute city becomes an option – shopping for necessities, like a pint of milk, or meeting your friends for a drink, without ever getting in your car.” “.

Here are three cities planning to make the 15-minute city a reality.

oxford debate

Plans for 15-minute zones in the city of dream spires had locals up in arms last month.

Up to 2,000 clashed with police, outraged by Local Plan 2040, which will see six roads installed with traffic filters, allowing drivers to move freely through their own neighborhoods, but facing fines of up to £70 if they drive. through the filters.

Oxford has some of the most expensive houses in the country. North Oxford and Summertown are notoriously expensive, and in Jericho, like Hampstead in north London, seemingly modest terrace houses often sell for upwards of £2 million.

“You get more property for your money in the Lye Valley area, where 1930s semi-trucks come with big yards,” says Jonathan Gregory of Humberts Realtors. “With a nature reserve and golf course nearby, it’s a good place for families.”

Join a bath center

During the pandemic, many of Bath’s residents have become accustomed to working from home, shopping and socializing at local ‘hubs’.

The council has built on this trend in its version of the 15-minute city, with the goal of being carbon neutral by 2030. It’s an ambitious request because the amount of traffic in the city has doubled since 1990.

Bath, with its galleries, historic pubs and cafes, has an irresistible charm. House prices are through the roof, driven in part by Airbnb investors. A three-bedroom apartment in one of the big houses in the Landsdown area will set you back at least £2 million.

Bear Flat is popular, close to shops and a park. A three-bedroom Edwardian terrace house sold there for £942,000 before Christmas. The median price of a property last year was £634,000, up 17 per cent from the previous year.

liberating canterbury

Although impressive, with beautiful Georgian houses, a limestone cathedral, and medieval streets, Canterbury often feels packed with bursting traffic.

To counter this, the city council proposes dividing the city into five zones, fining motorists who cross them.

If you wish to cross the city, you will need to drive to its perimeter and towards the proposed east turnoff before re-entering.

This has outraged many people, including former Brexit activist Nigel Farage, who told Kent Online: “It paints a bleak picture of a dystopian future of people constantly under mass surveillance.”

The most sought after homes are found within the city walls. St Dunstan’s has a bohemian feel to it and is close to the High Speed ​​1 service from Canterbury West station.

Properties in the city sold for a comparatively modest average of £347,000 last year.

So will the 15 minute city make Canterbury even more desirable and drive up house prices? The jury is still out.

In the market… and in the center

Canterbury – A Grade II listed four bedroom semi-detached house close to the city centre, this property has contemporary interiors but retains beautiful period features., 01227 473 708. £900,000
Bathroom: There are five bedrooms in this semi-detached property. The house has a terraced garden and a newly equipped kitchen., 01225 320 032. £1.295 million
Canterbury: Three bedroom Restorer’s Cottage is less than a ten minute walk from the center of Canterbury with its shops, schools and universities., 01227 781 600. £500,000


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