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The 15-Minute City, Deconstructed


© Steve Mouzon

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

What is the 15-Minute City? It’s every city ever built by humans on this planet until a century ago, but with a catchy new name. If a city’s old parts haven’t been destroyed in the past century, it’s the areas that attract the most tourists. And people will travel across continents and oceans to experience the best of them.

Forty years ago, a few pioneers decided to start building 15-Minute Cities again. Actually, they built 5-minute cities because they didn’t think people would walk for 15 minutes—and, in the early 1980s, they were right, because people were so conditioned to driving everywhere back then. Seaside, Florida, is where it all began. Time magazine called it “the little town that changed the world.” For the first time in the modern history of sprawl, people could toss their car keys in a drawer or hang them on the wall and leave them there for days. When people returned from Seaside vacations, they came back asking, “Why can’t we build this way at home?” And soon, the New Urbanism was born.

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