After the pandemic, the return to normality raised a series of questions about the relationship between humans and their environment. If during the lockdown our lives were confined to our immediate surroundings and pollution levels decreased (if we don’t count the plastic from hospital disposables), why not take this idea to preserve the planet?
This is what Carlos Moreno, a professor, urban planner, and advocate of “cities in 15 minutes,” thought years before COVID. He proposes redesigning urban spaces by applying what he calls “chrono-urbanism”: design to change our relationship with time and mobility in daily life.
In Paris, Mayor Anne Hidalgo was the first to use Moreno’s ideas to transform the city, reducing the number of parking spaces, expanding bike lanes on avenues, and making it more walkable and less harmful to the environment. Paris was not the only one to adopt this advanced planning: in Oxford, England, a 20-year development plan has already been approved to create neighborhoods where essential services are accessible by walking no more than 15 minutes.
The concept has the approval of the World Economic Forum, the United Nations, progressive parties, and movements for climate change. However, it has also been rejected by far-right conservatives and COVID and climate change deniers who suppose that the project is part of a global plan to accustom the population to new lockdowns. The author is constantly harassed on social media and in public in Europe.
“When we are in a city or a specific territory, we look at a map and answer six questions: where and how do I work; where and how do I stay; where and how do we provision ourselves; where and how do we take care of ourselves physically and mentally; where and how do we access culture and entertainment; and where and how do we have leisure,” explains Moreno when asked about the fundamentals of his project.
What unexpected consequences will this new way of organizing a city have? How could it be applied in less developed countries and in larger and more densely populated cities?
It is likely that the change will come later rather than sooner in our regions, but one thing is certain: a city planned in the 19th century must be updated to avoid the dangers of hyper-concentrated human population.
Translated by Chatopenai.com.
Revised by Muta Magazine.