ST. LOUIS — A plan to transform a St. Louis suburb into a “15-minute city” is getting worldwide recognition. The Guardian is featuring the O’Fallon, Illinois 20-year development plan.
What is it? Simply put, people living in O’Fallon, Illinois, should have everything they need within a walk or bike ride from home. The goal is to make life there more sustainable, convenient, and less stressful.
There have been a lot of high-tech ideas to make this happen over the years. Boring Company, founded by Elon Musk, proposed digging tunnels to help people get around. Several Hyperloop plans have been proposed to quickly transport people from one location to another. High-speed rail, public transportation, car sharing apps, and more have all tried to address the mobility issues associated with modern life.
The 15-minute-city concept solves the problem by moving the things you need closer to your home. The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, made it a part of her re-election campaign. The French plan has been in place for the last three years.
Implementing the 15-minute city plan in a dense city like Paris is one thing, but how is that going to work in the Midwest? A survey showed that people in O’Fallon wanted more places to bike and walk to. In reality, less than 5% of Americans walk or bike to work.
The plan is still a work in progress. It remains to be seen whether hurdles like zoning, bike lanes, pedestrian access, and more will crop up over the next two decades. One thing is certain, O’Fallon, Illinois, is getting a lot of positive attention for trying something new.