↑    The 15-minute city will involve reshaping the streets of Paris.


This article describes the current Mayor’s “15-Minute City” plan to extend the recent urban transformations to create a car-free inner city.

Phasing Out Cars Key To Paris Mayor’s Plans For 15-Minute City

Should she get reelected as Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo plans to turn the French capital into a myriad of neighborhoods where “you can find everything you need within 15 minutes from home.”

But, preferably, not by car. Instead, the Socialist Party politician wants more Parisians to walk and cycle.

Plans for the “city of fifteen minutes”—or, Ville Du Quart D’Heure—were unveiled on January 21 by Hidalgo’s reelection campaign, Paris En Commun.

The plans, which aim to transform Paris into a people-friendly city, build on Hidalgo’s transport changes made during her current term of office, which has included removing space for cars and boosting space for cyclists and pedestrians.

Hidalgo wants to carry out what she calls an “ecological transformation of the city,” aiming to clean the city’s air and improve the “daily life of Parisians.”

Based on the “segmented city” ideas suggested by Carlos Moreno, a “smart city” professor at the University of Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne, the “city of fifteen minutes” will include making key thoroughfares in Paris inaccessible to motor vehicles; turning currently traffic-choked intersections into pedestrian plazas, and creating “children streets” next to schools.

Green spaces, vegetable plots, and playgrounds will take the place of car parking, should Hidalgo get a second term, she promises.

Some of what Hidalgo calls the “new organization of streets” will be permanent; other elements—such as the child-friendly school streets—would operate during the start and end of school days.

The Ville Du Quart D’Heure concept is based on Moreno’s idea of “chrono-urbanism,” or having amenities, jobs, and shopping close to home. This means “changing our relationship with time, essentially time relating to mobility,” says Moreno.

Rather than building out-of-town shopping malls, the 15-minute city would feature “hyper proximity,” with accessibility to “essential living needs” always close at hand, and certainly within short walking or cycling distances.

Moreno observes that cities are “still driven by the paradigm of the oil era and its impact on roads and general urban planning” but that the “era of omnipresent cars” is coming to an end.

“Pervasive petrol-powered transport” has to be designed out, believes Moreno to enable “real quality of life.” He admits his is an “ambitious urban policy” that will require a “radical transformation of our lifestyles.”

It is “about challenging our urban pace of life,” says Moreno.

“Chrono-urbanism must be at the heart of our roadmap for the years to come,” he states.

“Preserving our quality of life requires us to build other relationships between these two essential components of urban life: time and space.”

Paris must “move from city planning to urban life planning.” This, says Moreno, “means transforming the urban space, which is still highly mono-functional, with the central city and its various specialized areas, into the polycentric city, based on four major components: proximity, diversity, density, and ubiquity.”

His 15-minute city would offer “quality of life within short distances.”

The denser, more populated cities of the near future—and not just Paris—will require “turning streets into spaces of carbon-free mobility by walking or cycling, of reinventing new hyper-proximities, of rediscovering biodiversity,” says Moreno.

Hidalgo has adopted some of Moreno’s ideas as part of her reelection campaign and is keen to be seen as the city’s greenest mayoral candidate. She has been Mayor of Paris since 2014, the first woman to hold the office. Two rounds of municipal elections will take place in Paris on March 15 and 22, alongside other French municipal elections.

Chrono-urbanism—or the close proximity of shops and amenities to where people live, linked with cycling and walking infrastructure—describes the urban design already standard in Dutch cities such as Groningen and Utrecht.

Share This