The future cities that could save the planet

A new vision: Paris could soon be filled with healthy, green communities. © Arch2O

Can cities really fight climate change? Around the world, new neighbourhoods are being designed where you can get all you need within a 15-minute walk. They could help reduce emissions.

What’s happening

It is a Tuesday afternoon in 2040. Paris is quiet. There are no car engines. The only sounds are voices and bicycle bells. People stop on their way to chat with friends. The park on the old road is full of green. Birds are singing and children play on the new playground after school.

Find out more

This is the plan for a 15-minute city. Here, people will be able to go to the shops or school, meet up with friends and do exercise, all within a short walk or bike ride.

The 15-minute city was inspired by climate change. When everything is a short distance away, cars are not a priority. There is a focus on bike lanes and pavements.

Carlos Moreno is one of the scientists who came up with the idea. He says they are “a good way to radically reduce CO2 emissions”.

Lots of cities around the world plan to use this model. Paris is one of the first. Anne Hidalgo is the mayor. She has promised to remove 60,000 parking spaces by 2024. There will also be bike lanes on every single street and more green space.

Can cities really fight climate change?

Some say…

Yes! Cities have a huge impact on the climate. The 15-minute city is a perfect way to stop that. More than two million people live in Paris. If none of them had a car, the emissions would be far lower. Plus, small communities would be fun and friendly. They would make us more healthy from walking and cycling all the time.

Others think…

Not by themselves. For this plan to work, every city in the world needs to change. This is unrealistic. Some people have jobs that are further away. They will want to travel. And what about tourists? Nobody can look all around New York or Hong Kong in 15 minutes!

You Decide

  1. Would you prefer to live in a big city or the countryside?

Activities

  1. You are a town planner. Come up with an idea that will make your nearest town better for the environment.

Some People Say...

“But a city is more than a place in space, it is a drama in time.”

Patrick Geddes (1854 – 1932), Scottish biologist, sociologist and pioneering town planner

What do you think?

Word Watch

Paris
The capital city of France. It is home to 2.1 million people. It is famous for its beauty and buildings like the Eiffel Tower.
Priority
Something that is more important than everything else.
Pavements
The path on the side of the road meant for people to walk along.
Radically
Extreme. A radical change is one that is completely different from before.
Emissions
Something that is given off. Cars emit harmful gases into the atmosphere.
Mayor
An elected leader who runs the government of a city.
Unrealistic
Something that is not likely or realistic.

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