Defining the 15-minute city

Can the Pike District be a 15-minute city? Should the Pike District be a 15-minute city?

From CNU

The 15-minute city is defined by its ability to provide access to all human needs by walking or bicycling for a quarter hour or less. Transit should be provided within the 15-minute city, but cannot accurately define its scale.

When an urban area achieves the 15-minute city goal, several positive implications follow:

  • It is socioeconomically equitable—those without a car could easily access all their needs.
  • The area is small enough that measuring diversity, in balance, produces a useful indicator. In larger geographic areas, diversity has less meaning because many human needs could be too distant to be easily accessible anyway.
  • The need for transportation is minimized—and therefore the reduction in fuel mitigates global warming.
  • Human-powered transportation, which improves health and well-being, is promoted.
  • The convenient location of services, accessible by multiple modes, saves time and improves quality of life.

The 15-minute city implies three levels of sheds:

  1. The 5-minute walk shed, a quarter-mile from center to edge, indicating the individual neighborhood. Each quarter-mile shed must have ordinary daily needs, a range of housing types, and a center (generally a public square or main street with minimal mixed use). Small businesses, at least, are located in the neighborhood.
  2. A 15-minute walk shed, three-quarters of a mile from center to edge, is the maximum distance that most people are going to walk. Within this shed should be located a full mix of uses, including a grocery store, pharmacy, general merchandise, and public schools. Larger parks that serve multiple neighborhoods will be found here, in addition to larger employers—but not necessarily the region’s biggest. The 15-minute walk shed provides access to regional transit—at least one station. This shed is similar in size to a 5-minute bicycle shed, and the bicycle can be used to transport purchased goods. The shed provides for weekly and daily needs. .
  3. The 15-minute bicycle shed would give access to major cultural, medical, and higher education facilities. Regional parks and major employers can be found here. Access to intercity transit may be available. This shed provides access to special needs. The total extent of the 15-minute city is therefore defined by the three-mile radius of the 15-minute bike ride.

Read the rest of the article here and learn more about the 15-minute city.

The 15-Minute City—No Cars Required—Is Urban Planning’s New Utopia

From Bloomberg News

This article explores the concept of the 15-minute city, which pretty much means most everything you need in life — friends, work, stores, recreation, restaurants, etc. — is just 15 minutes away, preferably by walking, biking, or public transit. It’s quite an interesting article. I encourage you to give it a quick peruse, but if you’re short of time, here are a few highlights.

From Paris to Portland, cities are attempting to give residents
everything they need within a few minutes of their front doors.

Taken together, the new trees and cycleways, community
facilities and social housing, homes and workplaces all reflect a
potentially transformative vision for urban planners: the 15-minute
city. “The 15-minute city represents the possibility of a
decentralized city,” says Carlos Moreno, a scientific director and
professor specializing in complex systems and innovation at

At its heart is the concept of mixing urban social functions to create a vibrant vicinity”—replicated, like fractals, across an entire urban expanse.

As workplaces, stores, and homes are brought into closer proximity, street space previously dedicated to cars is freed up, eliminating pollution and making way for gardens, bike lanes, and sports and leisure facilities. All of this allows residents to bring their daily activities out of their homes (which in Paris tend to be small) and into welcoming, safe streets and squares.

Adie Tomer, a fellow at Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program and co-author of the report, says the 15-minute concept falls flat in America because “people in the U.S. already live in a 15-minute city, it’s just that they’re covering vast distances in a car.” Planners concerned with urban livability and rising carbon emissions might do well to focus on distance rather than time, he says. He suggests that the “3-mile city” might resonate better.