4.1.1. Introduction

Investigating the practicalities of the 15 minute city concept in your local area

By the end of this unit, you will be able to:

  • explain what is meant by the 15 minute city concept
  • consider the cities where the concept is starting to be applied, and the connection with digital data
  • appreciate the benefits of applying the concept
  • start to consider how it might be applied to your own local area

All learners live in a particular urban area of varying sizes. Some will live in cities. Cities are complicated spaces, and can create issues for those who live in them as a result of their size. 

Carlos Moreno has considered how these larger spaces can be organised into smaller ‘neighbourhoods’ where everyone can access what they need within 15 minutes of their home, which negates the need to travel across the city, and also fosters a more community minded approach to these services, which provides employment and reduces the need for excessive journeys.

The 15 minute city is designed to solve a number of problems. How can open data be part of this solution, and how practical is it for the place where YOUR and YOUR STUDENTS live.

Watch the video below, by Carlos – subtitles are available a number of languages.

How would you describe the place where you live, and where does it sit on this hierarchy of places?


Picture your house. Imagine an area delimited by the distance you could comfortably walk, not hurrying, in fifteen minutes. This would normally be between 1km and 1.5km.
This can be visualised using this tool: https://2kmfromhome.com/1km and works for anywhere within the EU. It was developed by David Bolger following restrictions introduced in some countries e.g. France: https://2kmfromhome.com/about

e.g. an example from the Netherlands.





List the functional services that lie within your local area.


This word cloud provides some examples of these if teachers are unsure and can be displayed, or a list can be developed from student discussion. Remember that some of these services are lower order and some are higher order. There will also be additional services in some countries which are not listed here.
Lower order: Those offering low cost items which are required regularly and tend to be found locally e.g. local convenience store or grocery store, post-box, church.

Higher order: Those which are needed less frequently, and need a greater population to sustain and/or a greater expense to access e.g. sports stadium, airport, car repairs.