Anne Hidalgo was re-elected mayor of Paris under the innovative banner of the “15-minute city,” which she herself defined as the “Big Bang” of proximity. “It represents a fundamental transformation in the way the city is managed,” explained French-Colombian urban planner Carlos Moreno, Hidalgo’s advisor and author of the proposal. It is about another way of living, consuming, working and being in the city. Its essence: that everything important for our daily lives is within a 15-minute radius, on foot or by bicycle.
It also means rethinking the way individuals move around, traverse the city, explore and discover it. “With this life of proximity, we can regain time for ourselves, for our family, loved ones, neighbors, friends, and take care of the most fragile,” said Moreno the Sorbonne professor. The “15-minute city” has gained momentum around the world as a response to the climate crisis and especially to the health crisis that has forced us to limit travel and to live differently.
Existing facilities will have different functions, users, customers depending on the day and time.Carlos Moreno, urban planner
Hence the urgency of finding essential needs close to home, of limiting the risks of pollution inherent to transportation and public places. The urban planner’s proposal is to find in a big city like Paris quiet streets with greenery; places for the common good; mobility on foot or by bicycle; shopping and access to multiple services nearby; making the school the capital of the neighborhood; having health centers nearby, among many other ideas.
In this first year of implementation, the Parisian mayor’s advisor acknowledges that it is difficult “to change the rhythm of life to which we are accustomed. The battle to change the way we work is ongoing and will be one of the most important in the years to come”.
In the case of Seoul, UNStudio has unveiled the design of Project H1, a technology-assisted master plan for a 10-minute neighborhood that would adapt to the digital economy. According to CNN, the project transforms an industrial site and railroad track into a dense, mixed-use urban environment that contains all the amenities of contemporary living within a 10-minute walk. This diverse and pedestrian-friendly neighborhood is complemented by a digital infrastructure developed by UNSense, which provides a framework for managing energy production and consumption, local food production, and shared use of common spaces.
To give life to the street as a vast place of exchange, creation, transmission, mixing. It stops being an anonymous place of passage of people in a hurry who ignore each other.Carlos Moreno, urban planner
The introduction of a new rail link created the opportunity to develop this industrial area near the mountains neighboring Seoul between two residential areas. As such, Hyundai Development Company invited UNStudio to create a new mixed-use center. The development is linked to the two adjacent neighborhoods via bridges, while the main street runs through the site.
The site is divided into two zones of different densities, connected by three main plazas and a network of squares. One area houses eight residential towers with terraced podiums dedicated to leisure, commercial and cultural programs, whose morphology is integrated into the overall landscape design.
The apartment units accommodate multigenerational housing, with flexible layouts, and each residential floor incorporates common spaces. The second area of the master plan, the commercial and business parcel, comprises a hotel, co-living residences, co-working spaces, and an office model that combines the characteristics of a house, hotel and office, called an “officetel.”
Valencia has designed its own “15-minute city”. And “Barcelona was a pioneer with the ‘superblocks’. It is not exactly the same project, but we have many things in common,” explained Moreno. “Pontevedra is a reference for this chrono-urbanism with this city that has been making pedestrians the priority for a long time now, Logroño has also embarked on this chrono-city path,” he adds.
Asked about the Smart City model that different cities are trying to follow, Moreno pointed out that it is a model that “wanted to solve complex problems of urban life based on the use of technology. Finally, 10 years later, we have seen that this promise does not correspond to the reality of the transformation of our lives in the face of the triple ecological, economic and social challenge”.