15 Compelling arguments against the 15 Minute Prison city.
According to the self styled intelligentsia of The Guardian, anyone who opposes the 15 minute city revolution (which it is indeed) is a right wing, conspiracy nut getting their knickers in a twist over the entirely commendable notion that we should have these 15 minute green oases of serenity and convenience. Apparently being against the 15 minute city revolution, means you must love the rush hour traffic, hustling for parking spaces, and going to those horrendous out of town retail parks. However, these arguments that the 15 minute city is a generous and humane attempt by our local councils to make our lives easier, fall apart at the slightest scrutiny. Let’s break this down.
1. If it’s such an amazing idea wouldn’t people embrace it organically?
No, it’s going to be enforced with ubiquitous ANPR and fines. Sounds more about control and social engineering which is undemocratic and incredibly authoritarian. It’s not about grass roots desire or demand, it’s about a stealthy plan to control and regulate behaviour with menace.
2. How does the council know which amenities I need?
This sounds like a communist diktat aimed to control my behaviour and decide for me which services and activities I’m allowed to participate in. There’s not even a tennis court in my entire town, so do you think the 15 minute planners will be kind enough to build me one down the road?
3. This is not private sector or free market driven.
If there was a demand for say, coffee shops, gyms and other services at a 15 minute localised level, wouldn’t businesses have filled that gap. Since there are not currently businesses in every 15 minute zone, this indicates it’s not a profitable prospect, and thus why would people suddenly be willing to open unprofitable businesses?
4. Where’s the money coming from?
Councils currently can’t afford to provide libraries, youth centres, mow verges or fix potholes, how will they afford to provide amenities at a 15 minute level. I live in a small but very populous town and there are not enough doctors, dentists, post offices, school places, sports facilities and green spaces as it is, how can they possibly provide these within each 15 minute zone.
5. Where’s the freedom of choice?
Within my 15 minute area, I have a tanning salon, nail bar, fish and chip shop, convenience store and pub. I have no need of the tanning salon and nail bar and I wouldn’t eat at the eating establishments if I was starving, as they are below par. Personality I buy organic food and travel for specialist alternative medical care, like acupuncture and chiropractic, which will never be available within 15 minutes.
6. 15 minute cities are Apartheid.
I imagine that within affluent areas like Knightsbridge, Chelsea, the Cotswolds, or in leafy Surry stockbroker belt, it’s quite pleasant in the local areas and terrific restaurants, cafés, shops, parks and specialist care probably are locally available. It’s probably desirable to those communities to be somewhat sealed off or insulated. However, imagine being trapped in a brutal concrete jungle of ugly tower blocks with run down shops and no amenities to provide relief from an austere lifestyle. It’s not very equitable or conducive to social mobility is it?
7. Taking the bus or train isn’t always an option.
People may argue that 15 minute cities do not restrict your movements as you can still use the bus or train when and if you desire. However, many areas don’t have a good bus or train service. In some areas, buses and trains are packed to capacity already and can’t cope. What about the expense of train and bus travel, this could be quite prohibitive?
8. The status quo is very convenient already.
People have set up their lives with the assumption they can drive freely and thus children are at schools and doing activities, adults have work commitments, people have joined groups, associations and sporting activities according to this assumption. Imagine having to readjust your entire life, and that of your family, at very short notice, to accommodate these zones.
The local councils will have to take on more staff to man offices dealing with permits, because numerous businesses and individuals will have legitimate reasons to apply for daily permits to cross boundaries. People have to drive to work by necessity, visit clients, conduct services, attend hospital, take special needs children to specific schools, etc. the list is endless. So, it’s going to be very costly issuing the necessary permits and chasing up fines etc. I guarantee the councils haven’t factored this in at all.
10. Destruction of the High Street and out of town retail parks.
This will further diminish trade in the struggling High St, and I note that in an article by Olly Wainwright in The Guardian, the attitude to out of town retailers is one of disdain, so I gather they are slated for the chop.
According to what I have read in the liberal media, 15 Minute Cities are contingent on working from home, but that will take many years to implement for many sectors, and for a lot of individuals it will never be an opinion at all, because for many jobs you must be there in person. However, the 15 minute plan isn’t leaving time for this adjustment, it’s starting in Oxford next year.
12. Mission Creep.
Once the cameras and barriers are in place, they are ready for the next phase, as they have the infrastructure all in place to track your every move.
13. Elderly and Disabled.
This seems another attack on a much disregarded demographic of genuinely vulnerable people who do not seem to have vociferous advocates on social media or in government. Many elderly and disabled do have cars or adapted cars which make life much easier for them. Walking far, cycling or even getting a bus isn’t suitable for this demographic.
14. All areas cannot be made equal.
Cities in Europe have grown up over centuries and cannot be conveniently carved into similar zones. It’s inevitable that many areas will lack green spaces, crime free recreation areas, access to beauty spots or rivers, or even fresh air. Depending on where you live, you are condemned to your local environment.
Will a local assisted suicide center be considered a vital amenity, just in case you get depressed in your 15 minute zone?
Those very deep down the rabbit hole will quite rightly point out that amenities are superfluous, as the bottom line is controlling your movement without investing in your local area, which is obvious as the 15 minute zoning is full steam ahead and the building of local facilities is not in evidence. The plan is that most people will be redundant, thus not working, and will rely on UBI. NHS services will become virtual. Social services and entertainment needs will be met online. You can play virtual golf with your VR headset. You can have everything sent via Amazon or just eat. Maybe once in a while you might be allowed our for a haircut as a treat. Legitimate reasons for Jo Soap to leave the house will be obliterated.
Let’s use these powerful points to wake people up.