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What you need to know about ’15-minute cities’ — the future of sustainable urban life

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Welcome to SHIFT Basics, a collection of tips, explanations, guides, and advice regarding moving your company electronically. As the coronavirus pandemic spread, many of us shifted to working from home more often.

This situation has made us aware of our neighborhood’s reliance on driving, working, and commuting by car. Thousands of cities around the world have experimented with low-traffic neighborhoods with success. Some are advocating for the redesign of entire cities to better support modern sustainable living where cars aren’t the focus. ?? One concept that’s been gaining popularity is the “15-minute city”.

Shortly speaking, the 10-minute city program offers a mechanism that improves the quality of life by bringing communities together.

Over the past year, cities around the world have experimented with low-traffic neighborhoods, with much success. Reports indicate that the more dependent we are on cars, the worse off we become as pedestrians.How does it work?


One concept that’s been gathering momentum in recent months is the “15-minute city.”

With fewer cars on the roads, cities become safer and individuals can walk or ride their bicycles to the shops, which is far healthier than driving a car. A 15-minute city is supposed to improve our quality of life on a whole. But the reality is that building a 15-minute city is complicated, long-winded, and difficult.

car, 15, minute, city, future
Credit: Wikimedia
Segregated cycle lanes are a vital component of 15-minute cities. ??

How does it work?

Reports suggest that the more dependent we are on cars, the worse our overall health becomes. ??

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?? turns most contemporary city planning on its head.

It is a process that never stops . With the growing popularity of walking, cycling, and transit options, the demands on transportation infrastructure increases .

  1. We are back home and back to work, but it seems we will spend more time interacting with others in our living environment of our house rather than going to the office.
  2. As a result, neighborhoods are being taken far more seriously with regards to their impact on our health and safety. Research suggests low-traffic neighborhoods have made roads significantly safer in London.

?? With few cars on the roads it makes cities safer for everyone, and walking or biking to the shops is far healthier than driving for the individual too. Our guides, explainers and resource materials help you keep up with the ever-evolving mobility tech. The coronavirus pandemic became a driving force, and many of us started working from home.

Our cities have begun to experiment with low-traffic neighborhoods, with much success.

[Read: How Polestar is using blockchain to increase transparency]

Basically, a 15-minute city is an urban planning model which aims to improve quality of life and to bring communities together.

Although it sounds like a bougie utopia, it has a lot of logic when you examine it from a macro perspective.Credit: WikimediaSegregated cycle tracks make a vital contribution to the sustainability of 15-minute cities.

What are we to do?This fact is based on reports that suggest that the more cars we have on the road, the worse our overall health gets. The French capital’s plans to restructure itself around the concept are some of the most talked about in the world, and have been a core component of Hildago’s campaign manifesto.

Getting an entire city to buy into the idea takes a lot of persuasion and time, and it requires broad political support to make 15-minute cities a reality.


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However, the reality is that building fifteen-minute cities is far more complicated and challenging than the theory suggests. In the perfect 15-minute city, there's no hard and fast formula but one thing all attempts to make it perfect have in common: politics.Paris' mayor Anne Hildago has gained fame as the proponent of the 15-minute city.

amsterdam, bicycle, bike, foot, walk
Credit: Unsplash
Amsterdam is one of the world’s best cities for cycling. It didn’t get that way overnight. However, there are some cities that are close to the ideal 15-minute city – cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen – but even those are constantly reexamining how they can improve the format.Credit: UnsplashAmsterdam is one of the best bicycle cities in the world. I don’t think it happened overnight.

A number of years had to be spent in campaigning and improvements into infrastructure. It’s a process that never ends. As 15-minute cities encourage more people to leave their cars at home for short journeys, cycling, walking, and transit infrastructure are increasingly in demand.

Many of us are pining to get back to the office, but it seems that working from home and spending much more time where we live will be a huge part of our future. That's why we're starting to take neighborhoods and how they impact our health and safety much more seriously too.Low-traffic neighborhoods are having strong benefits; recent London research indicates that they've made the streets three times safer.

Low-traffic neighborhoods are proving their effectiveness, in London research suggests they have made roads three times safer. A lower reliance on cars, and greater use of more active transport like bikes and walking, is also great for our health.

It seems the next step is to apply that idea to entire metropolises and make 15-minute cities the future of our urban life.

While the concept is clear, it remains an elusive goal that ebbs and flows with the natural evolution of cities that occurs as people come and go, and move about their daily lives.

We should look at 15-minute cities not with an objective in mind, but as a philosophy for designing better cities for modern living.

On the surface, 15-minute cities are pretty simple, but if you want to learn more about them and how they work, there are some great resources here from: BBC’s Worklife, City Monitor, MobyCon, Raconteur.

SHIFT is brought to you by Polestar. It’s time to accelerate the shift to sustainable mobility. That is why Polestar combines electric driving with cutting-edge design and thrilling performance. Find out how.


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