"After years of tireless advocacy to popularize greener and more accessible neighborhoods — where the necessities of daily life can be reached within a short walk or bike ride — champions of the 15-minute city are suddenly the target of far-right conspiracies. The theory is getting its 15 minutes of fame — not as people-centered urban spaces but rather as dystopian, quarter-hour prisons, with opponents saying that they will threaten personal freedom.Yet, with societies increasingly fractured and fragmented, the concept could be the solution to bridging our divides. By creating more open, integrated, and healthy neighborhoods, it is possible to restore the in-person connections that are an antidote to polarization.The concept of a 15-minute city emerged in the 1990s as an alternative to the single-use zoning paradigm that had dominated urban planning during the postwar era. It is the ultimate mixed-use development where residences, schools, shops, and parks stand side by side and are accessible within minutes by foot or bicycle. The intention is not just to reduce dependence on polluting vehicles and eliminate the need for long commutes but to also reduce food deserts and promote healthier and more sustainable lifestyles."
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|TONY DEJAK/ASSOCIATED PRESS|