NIMBYs in tinfoil lined hats… all about 15-minute cities!

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NIMBYs in tinfoil lined hats… all about 15-minute cities!

NIMBYs in tinfoil lined hats… all about 15-minute cities!

In the past few weeks there has been some frankly wild and bewildering conspiracy theories about the concept of 15-minute cities. An actual elected Member of the British Parliament (I won’t name them as I can’t afford being sued… I am very poor), asked: “Will the leader of the house please set aside time for a debate on the international socialist concept of so-called 15-minute cities and 20-minute neighbourhoods?” You would laugh if it wasn’t so serious…

Now, brace yourselves because I am going into full-on teacher mode again. But first, I must declare an interest… I live in a 15-minute city/20-minute neighbourhood. I can walk to everything I need in life.

But what is that?

So, let’s design a 15-minute city. Pencils out!

What do you need to function on a day-to-day basis?

  • Somewhere to live (so let’s get building!)
  • Somewhere to work to earn a living (an office or a home office)
  • Somewhere to buy food
  • Somewhere to go for medical help and to buy medicine
  • Somewhere to educate your children (if you have any)
  • Somewhere to do some exercise and get fresh air
  • Somewhere to be entertained and socialise
  • Some form of transport to get you to places… but of course if you have all the above, that could easily be public transport or a bike.

And that, dear readers, is about it. Maybe I am a simple soul with few needs in my life. I haven’t owned a car for over five years now and I can honestly say that I have not missed it once. Yes, I do travel further, and the honest truth is that with the savings I make from not owning a car, I can afford a few more trips abroad (naturally, to educate myself).

In London there is a fiery debate between the Tories and Labour about the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) expansion being implemented on 29 August. The Labour Mayor is going to slap a £12.50 charge on all vehicles that don’t meet the low emissions standards. This basically applies to old bangers, you know the sort of thing… It just about scrapes through its MOT every year. Or to put it another way, one out of five vehicles will be paying the modest charge.

The reward of course is considerably cleaner air in London, or as it is affectionally known in the shires; “The Big Smoke”. Without smoke could I make a case for London being called “The Big Clean Air”? Surely, that is something to be proud of!

But I digress. Back to 15-minute cities. They are not a socialist concept. If you go and look at your traditional sleepy English villages recorded in the Doomsday book, were they not the predecessor to this? A group of people living in one place to share facilities and make life easier through pooling resources?

Or maybe “socialism” has just been around for much longer than we realise!

Until next week,