The Illusion of the 15-Minute City

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Real Estate

Imagine a world where you could walk to most amenities just like in central Paris.


From Saudi Arabia to Scotland, planners and politicians are advocating for a transformation of our interconnected cities into isolated "urban villages" where one can find everything they need within 15 minutes of walking.


However, this so-called 15-minute city is not a universally viable solution and may prove to be an international idiocy.


The 15-minute city concept may not be necessary if the U.S. were to reduce zoning restrictions that separate residential and commercial areas.


The concept of the 15-minute city sounds great, but it misunderstands the primary function of cities as labor markets.


Matching people with highly particular skills to employers with highly particular demands requires a wide universe of workers and firms.

Clustering jobs and residents together won't necessarily reduce travel, and it might not be practical for everyone.