Sunday Thoughts: 15-minute City in a Metropolitan Context

Documenting residential narratives about city inhabitants’ experience of the #15-minute city concept as a living reality (or something that sounds appealing) is part of my current PhD research.

I also inhabit my research in the sense that I value living in a way that reflects the essence of the 15-minute city concept.

I smiled to myself while on this tram ride yesterday to another district. I had first walked from my home to the urban rapid rail, rode a few stops then transferred to the tram.

I thought about how some of the critics or even conspiracists rallying against this 15-minute city concept assert that the concept endangers a sense of freedom. Somehow some of the conspiracists have come to this wild conclusion that the concept means you can’t leave your neighborhood and freedom of movement will be in question.

I’m compelled to reflect & share that last week I spent EVERY SINGLE WEEKDAY in my neighborhood. It was marvelous. All my needs were in walking distance & the level of practicality this brings to my daily life is simply brilliant.

Nobody forced me to stay in my neighborhood but the fact that I sometimes spend days without leaving my local area and love it mainly conveys a level of residential satisfaction that should be a benchmark for our urban environments. Not once did I yearn for the possibility of having a long and belabored commute to do any of my errands or activities.

Yesterday, hopping on PT to go to another district for a walk with others was pure leisure and I love the fact that diverse PT options exist to allow me to move all over the city if I choose. It’s in fact extremely liberating to have so many options for movement across the metropolis.

It’s also extremely liberating to return home and look forward to days when I can thrive completely in my neighborhood, having neither desire nor need to spend hours commuting for xyz reason.

As one of my local urban mobility interview respondents here in Warsaw reflected, ‘I explore other parts of the city because I am curious, but not because I do not have accessibility in my areas.’

On this sunny Autumn Sunday here in Warszawa, I look forward to a rich day spent entirely in my neighborhood.