36. Slowdown landscapes: One-Minute City—Fifteen-Minute City
Or, the 15-metre city outside your front door is as important as the 15-minute city around you; Allowing the street to decide what it wants to be; How to get to the 15-minute City.
This careful emphasis on the small scale, and the slower dynamic, suggests an engagement with the most potent of spaces that surround us. As suggested previously, the street is the basic unit of city: all systems converge on the street, all culture plays out there, one way or another.
Yet the urban planning cultures of the Acceleration-era tended to largely ignore the street, in favour of overpasses and underpasses, flyovers and roundabouts, all dedicated to speeding up, and scaling out, pushing the city’s edges out to the range of the car moving as rapidly as possible. As described earlier, the Slowdown changes all this.
This shift places an emphasis on the One-Minute city, as much as the 15-Minute city, 20-Minute city, 30-Minute city…
The One-minute City is loosely described by the space outside your front door—and that of your neighbours adjacent and opposite, suggesting numerous tight circles of engagement overlapping in the street, around your block or house. Here, you have the most regular and direct participation, responsibility, and interaction, merely propped up on propinquity. Depending on your context, this is the immediate environment defined by a one-minute stroll or roll. (Of course, if it takes you a minute to get outside, perhaps think of this as the 15-metre city!)
Here’s where some of my recent work with my colleagues at Vinnova gets a mention. These ‘small pieces loosely joined’ and ‘One-minute City’ models are being tested in practice on missions to retrofit Swedish streets. The work Vinnova is guiding, in collaboration with ArkDes, the Swedish national centre for architecture and design, involves multiple agencies, multiple cities, multiple streets, and a loose kit of parts for transforming streets from motor vehicle-dominated spaces into biodiverse and socially diverse places, parking bay by parking bay. It follows this adaptive, iterative, distributed…