Where You Live and Work, Agenda 2030, Lockdowns and “15min Cities”

Where You Live and Work, Agenda 2030, Lockdowns and “15min Cities”

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coronavirusThere’s no mistaking that mental, emotional, social, relational, and physical health were all impacted, often negatively, by the restrictions that were imposed in various places around the world starting in 2020!  Stories of Chinese shrieking from balconies when Shanghai encountered severe crackdowns on mobility still ring in many ears.


Other restrictions made ripples across the Internet during the pandemic.

France, Germany and England impose new lockdowns as pandemic fatigue seeps in across Europe and Covid cases soar

“People are tired in France where President Emanuel Macron imposed the country’s second nationwide lockdown beginning Friday to combat a resurgence of the coronavirus outbreak in Europe, says Parisian videographer Joseph Savage.”

“Like in the U.S., there have been demonstrations across Germany, protesting the restrictions, said Dr. Bill Schaffner, an epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University whose son lives in Berlin.”

“David Cain, a senior management consultant for the U.K.’s National Health Service, said people strictly followed the rules there at the beginning of the outbreak, but that’s changed.

Cain said some people have been reluctant to cooperate with contact tracers because they don’t want to be asked to remain home and potentially lose income. He added that not as many people are volunteering now to deliver groceries and other supplies to more at-risk individuals.”

“France last week entered a lockdown period where all residents must stay inside, except to get groceries and conduct other essential business, or risk fines and criminal prosecution.

Unlike under the previous lockdown in March, schools will stay open.”

When Australia’s New South Wales province, tightened travel restrictions on their residents, the action was seen worldwide as draconian:

How to check what is in your 5km radius in lockdown
By 9News Staff
1:19pm Aug 14, 2021

“NSW residents in lockdown were today told they could only exercise or shop within five kilometres of their residence if possible, a reduction from the previous limit of 10km.
Specifically, people who are not in the government’s 12 LGAs of concern may shop and exercise within their LGA, or within 5km from their home if they are crossing LGA boundaries.
Those within the LGAs of concern are restricted to the 5km-from-home limit at all times.”

The article link above tried to be helpful by offering a tool out of Ireland:

“One popular online tool was developed by Ireland’s Dave Bolger early in the pandemic, after the Irish government imposed a 2km limit on residents.
The 2kmFromHome site, launched on March 27, 2020, allows people to check exactly what is in their remit.
Don’t be fooled by the name – the site allows you to check a several distance limits, including 5km and 10km.”

According to the 2kmFromHome website:

“KM From Home was launched on the evening of 27th March 2020 after restrictions on movement were announced by the Irish Government in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. On the first day, 28th March, over 800,000 people visited the site to check where they could exercise.”

“When the initial lockdown was introduced in Ireland there were no websites or tools available to easily show the radius for an exercise limit. After the announcement in early evening, we quickly developed and launched a site a couple of hours later for family and friends to use. “2km from home” were the words used to describe the limits that’s the name that was used for the site.

Subsequently increases in limits were announced along with other countries using similar lockdowns to control Covid-19. As over a million people had used 2kmfromhome.com we kept with the name.”

Now however, one has to wonder if these distance-restrictions weren’t tests to see just how ready various cities were, for what had already come to be termed “15 minute cities” back in 2016.

Research on the question brings up entire websites dedicated to the concept. One city in Alberta began to publicly address this in 2020. Let me share a few article snippets with you.

2020 Edmonton AB Draft Community Plan

Edmonton’s proposed City Plan hinging on creation of 15-minute communities as city grows toward two million people
Author of the article:Dustin Cook
Published Sep 14, 2020 • 3 minute read

“The plan involves breaking Edmonton down into 15 districts across the city, all served by at least one node or corridor. Providing all the necessary services and amenities in each district will prevent the need for residents to travel across the city for basic essentials.”

Key observation when this was going to hearings back the week of Sept 14h 2020:

“Twenty-six people registered to address councillors Monday, the first day of the hearing, slated to run until Wednesday.”

“The majority of speakers Monday voiced widespread support for the guiding document, . . . ”

“Everybody wants their taxes to be lower over time and one of the best ways we can do that is to build a more compacted infrastructure efficiency, which this plan says we must do,” he said. “Management of growth involves filling in the city and then working into the annexation areas.””

289. 15-Minute Cities – Edmonton’s bold plan for a sustainable net-zero city
Category: Renewable Energy
Tags: 15-minute city, climate change, Edmonton, resilience

Published: June 15, 2021

“Edmonton city planning engineer Howaida Hassan clarifies. “We’re not talking about 15-minute driving, you’re talking about 15-minute walking, biking, or taking transit to what you need to do.””

“Edmonton’s plan for a net-zero future
“You hit it right on the head, David, like actually, uh, our understanding is that this is the first official plan in Canada that embeds, its carbon budgets into its plan,” says Hassan, a City of Edmonton engineer that helped draft the plan.”

““That’s a big deal because it means that everything within the plan has to be working towards that goal…that we maintain a [carbon] budget of 135 megatonnes, that we have net-zero emissions per person and that we plant two million trees.””

“Edmonton’s path to zero emissions
In 2018 Alberta’s capital city hosted the first IPCC Cities and Climate Change Science conference in the world and issued the “Edmonton Declaration” which calls on cities to use science-based targets and reduce their emissions to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

Then in 2019 the city declared a climate emergency and instructed its staff to update its much-lauded Community Energy Transition Strategy to the 1.5-degree threshold.

The new City Plan sets the tone for a zero-emissions city calling for 50 per cent of new development close to the city’s core, shifting people’s transportation from cars to walking, cycling and transit by creating 15-minute districts where people can half most of their needs met within 15 minutes of home.”

““It doesn’t mean you won’t use a car,” says Hassan, but under the new plan more people will live in the core, close to what they need and many will find they can get by with one car instead of two and increasingly that car will be electric.”

“Edmonton, Alberta’s Blatchford is the largest planned carbon-neutral community in North America. It exemplifies the concept of the 15-minute city by design located close to the core of the city, with good support for walking, cycling and transit and a denser urban design with plenty of public green space.

Blatchford: A model 15-minute Carbon Neutral Community
To this end, the City of Edmonton began developing Blatchford a model carbon-neutral community that will eventually host 30,000 people. The community will feature townhomes and a diversity of higher density structures along with plenty of public green space (parks, a lake, walking and bike paths, playgrounds, and community gardens).”

City aims for Edmontonians to ‘live more locally’ with 15-minute districtsdraft 15 min districts Edmonton
Sept. 16, 2021
By Emily Rendell-Watson

“As Edmonton inches towards two million residents, it’s looking to a concept that would see the city create 15-minute districts as a way to improve quality of life, help achieve its plan to become carbon neutral by 2050, and control urban sprawl.

The 15-minute city is an urban design strategy that the current city council adopted as part of the City Plan at the end of 2020.”

“The goal is to create “a place where you can get all of the immediate needs and amenities within a 15-minute … distance of your home,” architect Shafraaz Kaba told Green Energy Futures. That could potentially include groceries, recreation, green space, housing, health care, small businesses and more — the district plans expected in early 2022 will define what will be included.

The city says it wants to make it possible — not mandatory, but possible — to get to those places without a car, by walking, biking, or taking transit.

If all goes as planned, Edmontonians will be able to access their daily needs (without having to drive) from where they live in their respective districts”

“The urban design concept grew in popularity in 2019 when French-Colombian professor Carlos Moreno further developed the idea of “focusing on economic development in every corner of the city.”

Moreno inspired Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo to champion the 15-minute city, and it became a core component of her successful 2020 reelection campaign.

“It now stands as her central policy framework to improve quality of life and help the city live up to the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement,” writes Sisson. “As cities around the world strive to make similar transformations, Paris’s experience with the 15-minute philosophy will be closely watched for ideas that can be emulated elsewhere.

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred even more demand for localized amenities as workers shifted to home offices and spent more time in their nearby communities.”

This particular article then goes on to mention a network of cities under the umbrella of C40 and linked to a page that now goes to a 404 page not found error, but I decided to check the Who We Are page on the C40 website anyway!

“Mayors of C40 cities are on the leading edge of climate action, and are deploying a science-based and collaborative approach to help the world limit global heating to 1.5°C and build healthy, equitable and resilient communities.”

“Science tells us that we must cut emissions in half by 2030 if we are to avoid runaway climate change. Nothing short of transformational change on a global scale is needed within the decade, but such a shift has never seemed more possible than it does right now.”

However, it isn’t science telling anyone what to do by 2030, it’s the World Economic Forum: https://initiatives.weforum.org/2030vision-network/resources

https://www.weforum.org/great-reset/ This page contains a bothersome statement:

“In the run-up to the Annual Meeting, the Forum will host a virtual series: “The Great Reset Dialogues”.

These dialogues are a joint initiative of the World Economic Forum and HRH The Prince of Wales.

During these dialogues, various key stakeholders will discuss core dimensions of The Great Reset.”

Scrolling down the page, one comes to a headline for a short clip: Covid-19 has exposed the stark disparities in access to green space”.

Here in Canada, on our federal government’s website:  We see 17 individual sustainable development goals, and in the second row is the goal: Sustainable Cities and Communities”. But looking across the list of SDG’s, one could be forgiven for thinking they look remarkably like those championed in various descriptions of the “15 minute city” concept.

EDIT February 2, 2023

Apparently Vancouver BC passed an assessment of sorts in May 2022 (or June depending on the date you choose to look at on the research papers) that could easily term it a “15 minute City”.

End edit.

EDIT March 14, 2024

Calgary has jumped on board, and without allowing Calgarians to vote on the concept either.

“On September 16, the City of Calgary published its housing strategy through 2030, suggesting that rezoning residential communities would “improve choice and affordability.”

It contends that the “evidence is clear” on city-wide rezoning, calling it among the “most powerful actions” Calgary can take to achieve its climate goals.

“More housing within the existing footprint of the city improves our sustainability,” reads Home is Here, which aims to preserve the natural grassland and agricultural land on the outskirts of the city.

A recent federal housing and climate report endorses the need for less urban sprawl in building the ‘15-minute cities’ of tomorrow.”

end edit

Carrying on with the previous article however we read:

“The change we need can be delivered through our Chair’s vision for a Global Green New Deal, where mayors are working alongside a broad coalition of representatives from labor, business, the youth climate movement and civil society to go further and faster than ever before. The Global Green New Deal is our essential blueprint to delivering climate justice and strong, fairer economies that serve everyone”

“2015 – C40 celebrated its 10th anniversary. At the pivotal UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), cities were crucial voices in shaping and advocating for a strong Paris Agreement.”

“2018 – … C40 mayors made a series of bold pledges to reduce emissions and deliver on 2030 targets through green and healthy transport, zero waste, net zero carbon buildings, and equitable climate action.”

“2019 – The C40 World Mayors Summit took place in Copenhagen with 80 mayors in attendance, where Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti became C40 Chair and launched a Global Green New Deal alongside a coalition including youth climate activists and representatives from labour unions, the business community and civil society. ”

“C40 convened the Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, chaired by Mayor of Milan Giuseppe Sala, to develop a plan to help our cities rebuild their economies in a way that improves public health, reduces inequality and addresses the climate crisis, resulting in the Mayors’ Agenda for a Green and Just Recovery. ”

2021 “Two new collaborative groups launched this year; the Global Mayors Task Force on Climate and Migration to address the impact of the climate crisis on migration in cities, and the first-of-its-kind Global Youth and Mayors Forum, which brings together youth climate leaders and mayors to work together on shaping the vision of a Global Green New Deal.”

See if your city is on the list! 

The link to this global green new deal says:

“In the cities and communities we build together, everyone will have the right to clean air, a living wage, good green jobs, protection from extreme weather, healthy local food, a safe place to live, and green spaces to enjoy – regardless of race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, citizenship status, ability, or socio-economic status.”

“A regionally-diverse approach is essential to delivering equitable climate action: all voices must be represented and taken into account

That’s why a core component of our Global Green New Deal is our Implementation Pilot programme. This flagship Pilot supports targeted engagement, initially in five pilot cities, but will expand to more cities, focusing on delivering inclusive climate action, a just transition and demonstrating what C40’s vision for a Global Green New Deal –including a green and just recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic – looks like in practice. The initiative will draw on C40’s expertise to advance climate mitigation targets, a just and equitable transition, and adaptive resilience in North America, Europe, Africa and Latin America.”

Back to the article from 2021 now:

” Melbourne, which has built a long-term plan to move towards 20-minute neighbourhoods; Ottawa, whose 15-minute city plan aims to “have residents take half their trips by foot, bicycle, public transit or by carpooling”; and Portland, which plans for 90% of the city to have access to daily needs through its Complete Neighbourhood project.”

“What’s next?
City administration is preparing drafts of all 15 district plans and organizing to conduct a second round of engagement early next year as directed by city council’s urban planning committee. The goal is to have council approve district plans by the end of 2022, which will aim to show residents more specifically how their neighbourhoods will evolve.”


Waves of LifeMeanwhile in 2022, this article appeared on the World Economic Forum’s website:

“As climate change and global conflict cause shocks and stresses at faster intervals and increasing severity, the 15-minute city will become even more critical.”

Hmmm, I wonder why! One headline I’d read around the 15-minute city concept, was to refer to it as an open-air prison. Seeing how Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and other places handled their citizens during the height of the pandemic, one could easily see where this imprisonment feeling would come from! Clearly, the need for some sort of sustainable management of citizens under lockdown will be important in the future, so cities have been encouraged to figure it out before the next lockdown takes place. Because many feel the next lockdown will be ostensibly over climate change, framing “15 minute cities” as being environmentally friendly and sustainable will be part of the big push.

As for Edmonton, AB Canada, those who are interested can continue to follow their developments via the following links and documents:

From Edmonton City’s Website:
“Public Engagement Update
Feedback on the draft district plans is now complete for the 2022 REFINE engagement period. Thank you for sharing your feedback and ideas on adapting and adjusting the district plan content!

The revised draft district plans will be publicly available in spring 2023 for ADVISE engagement.”


District Planning FAQs, Draft District General Policy

EDIT February 2, 2024

Edmonton intends to engage in more public consultations and have their policy in place by Fall of 2024.

end edit

For the rest of us, visit 2kmfromhome.com, and check out the various ranges the site developers have placed there. If you refuse to let your browser give it’s location (wise move), you can drag the pin to your generalized area, or to the area you want to explore, and see what’s available within the range box you can also modify. This will be useful to know what you could be working with if we end up under more travel restrictions whether or not we find ourselves inside a “15 minute city”.

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