White picket fences, a dog, two children, and a daily commute into the office. The American dream has been a driving force behind the way our cities are built—and how much time we spend behind the wheel. The pandemic exposed that this regular commute was, at large, unnecessary for individuals and businesses to succeed. As our worlds became more confined and localized, we also had the time to pause and think about how the post-pandemic world could be better.
The 15-minute city is a concept created by Carlos Moreno that advocates the creation of a city of neighborhoods where people find everything they need in terms of work, retail, and leisure all within 15 minutes of their home. “Many people never visited shops close to their homes before because they were busy. They didn’t know their neighbors or the parks nearby,” explained Moreno, Professor at the University of Paris, Sorbonne. “The pandemic made us discover this. We have rediscovered locality and this has improved quality of life.”