Fact check: False claim '15-minute cities' are actually 'climate lockdowns'

  • In Business
  • 2023-02-06 21:16:39Z

The claim: '15-minute cities' are really 'climate change lockdowns'

A Jan. 28 Instagram post (direct link, archived link) features a depiction of a busy urban street along with text that warns about a supposed government plot.

"Climate Change Lockdowns disguised as 15 Minute Cities under the UN Agenda 2030," reads part of the text. "Your Government is pushing ahead with plans to bring 15-minute cities to a location near you. They are a brainchild of the UNs Agenda 2030, and are in effect Climate Change lockdowns."

The post was liked more than 4,000 times in two days. Other social media users reshared the post on Instagram.

Our rating: False

The creator of the "15-minute cities" concept says the post misconstrues the nature of the plan, which aims to increase goods and services for residents. There's no mention of lockdowns or confining residents to their communities on the "15-minute cities" website or in the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

No mention of lockdowns in 15-Minute Cities plan or UN Agenda

The post appears to be referring to the "15-minute cities" concept created by Carlos Moreno, a professor at Panthéon Sorbonne University. The premise is that all residents of a city should be able to access all essential services they need within a 15-minute walk or bike ride.

According to Moreno, the post significantly misrepresents the goals of the urban planning concept.

"The core of the '15-minute city' is an open city, a human city, an interconnected city," Moreno said. "Of course, all citizens are free to go where they want. There are no constraints."

The "15-minute city" concept was designed with the goal of reducing emissions related to transportation, according to Moreno. But the notion that the residents would be confined or restricted in order to reduce their carbon footprints is "totally false," he said.

Dan Luscher, founder of the 15-Minute City Project, agreed.

"The '15-minute city' is first and foremost about choice, the very opposite of coercion," Luscher said in an email. "It is about enabling people to get their needs met within their own neighborhood, not confining them to that neighborhood. It is about mobility, not lockdown."

Fact check: False claim UK city will test 'climate lockdowns' in 2024

Florencia Soto Niño-Martinez, associate spokesperson for the U.N. Secretary-General, said the U.N.'s 2030 agenda for sustainable development does not mention climate lockdowns or "15-minute cities." As USA TODAY previously reported, the agenda is a resolution the U.N. adopted in 2015 outlining 17 goals it seeks to achieve by 2030.

Furthermore, the U.N. does not have the power to force cities to adopt the "15-minute cities" plan, according to Soto Niño-Martinez.

"While the concept has been discussed in various climate forums because it can help cities reduce their emissions, the U.N. cannot mandate cities to adopt this concept," she said in an email. "Each country and each city are free to decide how they want to make themselves more sustainable."

USA TODAY previously debunked a claim that a traffic reduction plan in Oxfordshire would confine residents to their own neighborhoods.

Our fact-check sources:

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Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: False claim '15-minute cities' plan will confine residents


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