The 15-Minute City: Can New York Be More Like Paris?
And should it?
This is a season of envy for American cities, as Tokyo subways fill, Berlin museums reopen, and Aucklanders get together for weddings again. One image from Paris has inspired a particular wistfulness: The rue de Rivoli, until a few months ago a perpetual traffic jam with a scent of diesel and a soundtrack of frustrated honks, is now a whispering conduit for pedestrians and bicycles. The street, which cuts through Paris’s expensive core from the Marais to Place de la Concorde, is the emblem of the future metropolis, what newly reelected Mayor Anne Hidalgo describes as the “15-minute city.” In her vision, no Parisian should need to travel more than a quarter of an hour, on foot or by bike, to work, shop, or deal with a government agency. Part of the plan involves prying streets away from cars, and the other involves seeding neighborhoods with options so fewer people will feel the need to drive.