Fact Checking Claims About ‘15-Minute Cities’

Protesters gather in Broad Street to demonstrate against 15-minute cities and listen to speeches on February 18, 2023, in Oxford, England. (Photo by Martin Pope/Getty Images)

A photo of a billboard in the Canadian capital of Ottawa is circulating online with captions claiming the billboard advertises government plans to enforce lockdowns within a 15-minute walking distance of residents’ homes. These claims are false. 

The billboard in question advertises the construction of a “15-minute city” development by a private developer, Brigil. The idea of the 15-minute city, which has been endorsed by Ottawa’s city government, has nothing to do with enforcing “new ‘Covid lockdowns,’” “climate checkpoints,” or the confinement of residents within a 15-minute walk of their homes, as some social media users have suggested

The idea of the 15-minute city was formulated in 2016 by professor Carlos Moreno at the Sorbonne in Paris in the context of urban planning. In 2021 Moreno won an Obel Award, one of the largest prizes in architecture, for his concept. As the official website for the Obel Award defines it:

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