“The 15-minute city principle suggests you should have your daily needs—work, food, healthcare, education, culture, and leisure—within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from where you live. It sounds pleasant enough, but in the minds of libertarian fanatics and the bedroom commentators of TikTok, it represents an unprecedented assault on personal freedoms.” — The Guardian
If you’re worried about the government confining citizens to life inside a walkable 15-minute box, then we invite you to the 15-Hour City: a metropolis so sprawling and convoluted to navigate only by car, you’ll need over half the day to accomplish the basic necessities of living.
In the 15-Hour City, the most important tenet is freedom of movement. Here, you can travel anywhere you want, as long as it’s on the handful of roads we afford to maintain with a gas-guzzling car that costs half your paycheck.
No one can tell you where to go, except a byzantine array of traffic laws overseen by stir-crazy police officers stewing in a patrol car disguised as a bush on the side of the highway. The city is your oyster, as long as the oyster’s license and registration are up to date.
The 15-Hour City believes everything has its place. Houses go in one location, businesses in another, and in between is a dark sea of soul-crushing concrete and asphalt, a sea of inactivity mimicking the lifeless labyrinth we’ve constructed. All commerce will be moved to our sister city, Fjorskhsh, conveniently located in the darkest part of Sweden. Enjoy the Costco—hope you brought your krona!
The government wants you to walk to your grocery store; we want you to rent an RV to grab GoGurt. They want houses crammed back to back so you can be forced into awful labors like “knowing your neighbor”; we don’t want anyone to hear you if you scream. They want “sustainable cities”; we want this house of cards to collapse before the end of the year.
The 15-Hour City will bring families together, mainly inside the suffocating walls of a car without AC on an August afternoon. Hours spent together crammed onto sticky pleather seats, fighting over the last Capri Sun, like in a Rockwell painting.
You’ll go everywhere together because your house is on the other side of town, so parents and kids alike can experience the joys of a death-defying maneuver across a six-lane highway before school drop-off.
In fact, you’ll never have to leave your car at all. Our zoning laws ensure all doorways can fit a Nissan Armada, so everything in the 15-Hour City can be a drive-thru. We’re mandating all vehicles come equipped with a Murphy Bed that drops down where the DVD player used to be. Sleep in your car, sleep on the go, and sleep in the ER after trying to catch some shut-eye on the way to soccer practice.
The 15-Hour City represents what we think are all the best qualities of a modern city: a lack of social connections, a profound sense of alienation, and a constant stream of being flipped off by drivers from New Jersey.
So we say to you: come one, come all (as long as you can find parking). You’ll never want to leave the 15-Hour City, and even if you do, good luck trying!