Fifteen-minute cities: innovative concept or dystopian attempt at citizen control?

6. 04. 2023 | Kristýna Bezděková

The concept of fifteen-minute cities aims to reduce car usage and improve the quality of life for city residents. The idea of having everything accessible within a quarter of an hour has received both enthusiasm and opposition. Critics of the project see it as a conspiracy to strip individuals of their personal freedoms and subject them to a “climate lockdown.”

A recent demonstration in the British city of Oxford saw around 2,000 people protesting the council’s plan to reduce emissions from cars. One of the protest signs read, “Fifteen-minute ghettos are not about climate, but about tyrannical control. Say no to the new world order. Say no to fifteen-minute prison cities. People, wake up!”

Oxford City Council plans to trial a system to reduce car usage on six roads. Private vehicle drivers who wish to enter these roads will need the council’s permission. Road cameras will monitor these areas to ensure that no one enters without the necessary documentation. If a driver does so, the cameras will scan their registration plate, and they will face a fine of up to £70. Public transport vehicles will be exempt from this rule. The council hopes that this system will encourage residents to walk more or use public transport.

Additionally, the council has adopted the idea of fifteen-minute cities and included it in their urban planning concept for 2040. For demonstrators, both ideas are part of a comprehensive and dystopian attempt to limit civil liberties in the name of fighting climate change. The concept of fifteen-minute cities originated from French-Colombian university professor Carlos Moreno, who works at the Institute of Enterprise and Competitiveness. The idea aims to transform cities into self-sufficient units that provide all the necessary services within a fifteen-minute radius. This includes access to education, healthcare, employment, and recreational facilities.

However, critics argue that such an approach may lead to a loss of individual freedoms and promote social division. They also suggest that the idea overlooks the fact that some services may need to be centralized to maintain their quality and efficiency.

Overall, the concept of fifteen-minute cities aims to promote sustainable and healthy living while reducing carbon emissions. While it has received some criticism, it also has the potential to improve the quality of life for city residents.

Source, photo:, pixabay

Author of this article

Kristýna Bezděková

Kristýna is a student of marketing and communication in an undergraduate program. She writes and translates content into the Czech language


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