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11/17/22: CITY ON THE EDGE OF 15 MINUTES

Ron Patton | November 17, 2022

Creating a 3-mile zone within a city and county is imperative to the vision of a greener, vehicle-free area where buses, scooters, bikes, and pedestrians can walk or commute within 15 minutes of everywhere. 15-minute secure smart cities have been studied and discussed for some time but it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that world leaders were impressed with the idea of three-mile zones that could give people all they need while limiting them from leaving their confined areas. Is this just an appealing way to subtly imprison the populace? Tonight on Ground Zero, Clyde Lewis talks about CITY ON THE EDGE OF 15 MINUTES.

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11/17/22: CITY ON THE EDGE OF 15 MINUTES

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One year ago, President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – something he claimed was a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness. President Biden said that this was part of his Build Back Better agenda where he would usher in the “infrastructure decade.”

According to the White House, this is what the Infrastructure law accomplished.

Rebuilding our roads and bridges since President Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System;

Public transit in American history and a historic investment to make public transportation accessible;

Passenger rail since Amtrak’s inception, 50 years ago;

Clean water infrastructure;

Affordable, high-speed internet;

Tackling legacy pollution and advancing environmental justice;

Upgrading the power grid to transmit more clean energy and withstand extreme weather;

Increasing our infrastructure’s resilience against the impacts of climate change, extreme weather events, and cyber-attacks;

Replacing dirty diesel buses with clean, electric buses across school bus and transit fleets and creating a national network of EV chargers in the United States and largest investment in domestic manufacturing of batteries and the critical minerals that power them.

The liberals just love to tell you that this is a major accomplishment for a President, however, it had to be done in order to change a lot of the infrastructure because they have plans for you and your future lifestyle.

Green space, clean energy, increased urban density…and global dictatorship are still on the agenda and every day it just gets crazier and bolder.

Agenda 2030 is moving along quite quickly.

With all of the distractions going on, we are missing the opportunity to speak about how world planners are proposing some drastic changes all over the world.  Europe is already making plans to implement Net Zero policies, by creating new food guidelines in order to provide sustainable food for the future.

But there is yet another proposal that has been brought up and it may surprise people that these proposals have already been funded in packages given to governments during the pandemic.

The more pressing issues that are being discussed at G20 and COP27 deal with climate change and global sustainability– not because it is a real issue – but because it is heavily funded by political interests that are more interested in profiting off of well-programmed dupes who have been conned by technocratic malfeasance.

Many environmentalists seem to think that eventually Smart Meters, Autonomous Vehicles, and creating green zones in major cities are the answer to fossil fuels that are allegedly changing our climate.

There needs to be a shift to more precautionary policies that create opportunities and challenges for scientists to think differently about the ways they conduct studies and communicate results.

There is a complicated feedback relation between the discoveries of science and the setting of policy. While maintaining their objectivity and focus on understanding the world, environmental scientists should be aware of the policy uses of their work and of their social responsibility to do science that protects human health and the environment.

But it is becoming apparent that all of the new Green Proposals are being proposed to disrupt our lives and make them more difficult.

The future will not be for the older generations –as technology will complicate things and if you are unable to pick up on new habits and new habitats– you will suffer. You will either have to adapt or perish.

As cities continue booming, their challenges need to be carefully thought through so that population growth, economic development, and social progress walk on the same path.

Back in the 1960’s science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke was making some pretty accurate predictions about the City of Tomorrow.

He appeared on the BBC’s television program “Horizon” and predicted the future 50 years hence, which at that time would have been 2014. As a science fiction author, he was pretty good at predicting technology; though he said right up front that, “Trying to predict the future is a discouraging, hazardous occupation.”

That didn’t stop him from listing a number of things that he saw happening and while there were doomsayers in his day, Clarke seemed optimistic. Missing from his speech were talks about nuclear annihilation and end times eschaton babble.

He stated that the City of the Future may not be all brick and mortar and that “It will be possible, in the future, perhaps only 50 years from now, for a man to conduct his business from Tahiti or Bali just as well as he could from London.”

Clarke of course was thinking about the computer and its ability to connect the world and make it smaller – or in his words, makes it easy for men and women to do tasks from their homes or wherever they may be.

He says when that time comes, the Earth will shrink to a point and the traditional role of the city as a meeting place for man, would cease to make any sense.

He predicted that we would no longer need to commute, but it will be important for us to communicate.

He worried thought that if man was to go into hiding with his technology, the city would become one big technological suburb instead of a hub for pleasure and passing time.

Now, as we are on the cusp of further rapid shifts in cities precipitated by technology, it is worth imagining what the connected smart city of the future will look like – and the associated impact it will have on our everyday lives.

Take a typical day in the life of a community member in this hypothetical future that wakes up in their connected house with Artificial Intelligence automating everything from temperature preference to light levels to health monitoring and more – and scale it to the city at large. Cities are beginning to and will continue to, integrate technological dynamism into municipal operations, from transportation to infrastructure repair and more.

The back ends of these systems are not always apparent to the end user, but as the integration of smart cities technologies becomes more visible in our everyday lives, we could begin to see large-scale changes in our cities.

Cities that lean liberal or are considered progressive are beginning to see changes in their cities. Changes in the streets where there are now new bus stops to accommodate very large commuter busses, lanes provided for bicyclists, and improvements in commuter trains and crosstown street cars.

The point is that these city improvements are now being put in place in order to promote smarter cities and cities that will have small three-mile islands and zones in the future.

Creating a 3-mile zone within a city and county is imperative to the vision of a greener, vehicle-free zone. A zone where busses, scooters, bikes and pedestrians can walk or commute within 15 minutes of everywhere.

This proposal for the future is called the 15-minute city.

Autonomous Vehicles will be on our roadways provided by county or city fleets. These will be provided so that you will never have to drive a gas-fueled vehicle. These vehicles will gather data in order to create environments where most traffic lights become obsolete, traffic itself becomes a thing of the past, and cities can once again be for people rather than cars, as different modes of transportation work in tandem and communicate with each other.

15-minute secure smart cities have been studied and discussed for some time but it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that world leaders were impressed with the idea of three-mile zones that could give people all they need, which would limit them from leaving their zone.

They believed that it would be easier to apply lockdowns and curfews if people were safe in their zones.

The 15-minute city projects are being discussed in places like Miami, Oakland, and Portland Oregon.

Leaders who are looking for greener answers to the future rationalize that Walkable neighborhoods and villages were the norm long before automobiles and zoning codes spread out and divided up cities in the 20th century.   Yet the 15-minute city represents a major departure from the recent past, and in a growing number of other cities it’s become a powerful brand for planners and politicians desperate to sell residents on a carbon-lite existence.

With climate change, COVID-19, and political upheaval all challenging the ideals of globalism, the hope is to refashion cities as places primarily for people to walk, bike, and linger in, rather than commute to.

The 15-minute city calls for a return to a more local and somewhat slower way of life, where commuting time is instead invested in richer relationships with what’s nearby.

It’s a utopian vision in an era of deep social distress—but one that might, if carried out piecemeal, without an eye to equality, exacerbate existing inequities. Skeptics also wonder whether a city that’s no longer organized around getting to work is really a city at all.

Telecommuting they say will eliminate a lot of traveling. Online shopping is already keeping people away from brick-and-mortar stores — so the goal is to reduce the time you spend away from home.

Dreams of breaking down the segmented urban planning that dominated the 20th century—with industry on the outskirts, residential areas ringing the city, commerce in the core, and auto networks connecting long distances—of course, aren’t new. Urban thinkers have been advocating for the preservation or return of walkable, socially mixed neighborhoods –and businesses that provide health and human services.

Those proposing the 15-minute smart cities believe that the concept draws all these trends into an intuitive rubric that ordinary residents can test against their own experiences.

It’s also served as a response to pressures wrought by property speculation and rising tourism, which have pushed up rents and driven residents and businesses out of some long-standing communities. They also claim that the 15-minute city seeks to protect the vitality that made diverse, locally oriented neighborhoods attractive in the first place.

Transforming the major cities into 15-minute zones is rather like giving a supermodel a makeover. The challenge is far greater in the kinds of younger, sprawling cities found in North America where cars remain the dominant form of transit.

Many people who live in Portland may have noticed that many of the busy commuter streets in some of the poorer urban areas have been overrun with green bike lanes, crossing Islands, photo cop traffic enforcement, and stops for express transit.

The reason is that Portland has been studying the models of 15 minutes cities being proposed for European cities like Paris France and Oxford U.K.

Portland has the highest rate of bike commuting of any major American metro, a tight boundary that defines how much it can sprawl. So instead of sprawling, they are now accommodating a city or zone of the future where commuting will be limited to bikes, pedestrians, and busses.

I love near a street called division in Portland which has become a mess as it is not vehicle friendly. It has been bogged down with traffic signals for bikes and busses and their traffic stops block by block in one section. This has slowed down traffic and has slowed down emergency vehicles that have to cross cement islands to get to their emergencies.

About three-quarters of Portland’s residential land is occupied primarily by single-family homes, and more than half of its population commutes by car.

A recent Brookings Institution report that studied local travel behaviors found that among six U.S. metropolitan areas, Portland had the shortest average trip distance for people traveling to work, shopping, and errands. But that distance was still 6.2 miles, hardly a 15-minute walk or bike ride to the dentist or laundromat. To combat this, they took the money that President Biden provided for transportation improvements. Portland Bureau of Transportation spent most of its $150 million capital-improvement budget on the bike and walking infrastructure inside complete neighborhoods, and on transit to connect them.

They may think it is an improvement — but it has slowed commutes and looking around there are no bicyclists using the lanes –and the large commuter busses run empty.

But that will change when the government requires people to buy electric cars. If you can’t afford or even want an electric car you will be provided with alternatives — Bikes, walking, and local transit — because new smart cities will eventually become 3-mile zones or 15-minute cities.

Planners in mostly liberal cities and states say that they will benefit from people keeping their travel closer to home as the pandemic changed the way they people relate to their surroundings.

The 15-minute city could also be seen as a form of “post-traumatic urbanism”—a way to recover from the onslaughts of such things as property speculation, over-tourism, and neighborhood crime.

The neighborhood crime part is what I see as a problem because this would provide easier ways to put in mass surveillance that would render the 3-minute zones into something akin to the Nazi Ghettos.

The 15b minute City idea is nothing more than a cover for more mass surveillance while providing luxuries through innovation. The problem is that 15-minute Cities will have to utilize the new 5G technologies in order to be efficient.

This will increase the risks of concentrated electro-smog in the 3-mile zone environment.

But the globalists want to sell people on the idea that the 15-minute smart city appeals to nostalgia and to a renewed emphasis on neighborhoods, even if it addresses only some of the city’s modern challenges.

But don’t be fooled these 15-minute cities are part of the globalist green agenda taking inspiration from the illiberal days of lockdown.

You might think they sound pleasant but there is a slippery slope that includes cutting car use and traffic congestion by placing strict rules on car trips.

In Oxford UK, they are proposing to start their new 15-minute city at the end of November.

Under the new proposals, if any of Oxford’s 150,000 residents drive outside of their designated district more than 100 days a year, he or she could be fined.

Do not leave your allotted zone, at least most of the time – that is the policy.  This will be implemented on November 29th.

Although there is a public consultation that is still ongoing, the council is likely to overrule any objections from residents.

Advocates like to present 15-minute cities as ‘people-centered’. But we should be skeptical of these claims, given that they only seem to come from high-placed politicians, wealthy institutions and out-of-touch academics. And it was only after lockdowns that the previously unthinkable idea of confining people to their local areas for the greater good was able to gain currency.

As usual, it is ordinary people who will suffer the costs of the 15-minute city. Particularly, urban car owners and families who regularly travel across town to visit relatives or friends, or to go to work. And we shouldn’t forget the needs of older citizens, those with disabilities, and children.

The many practical problems of the 15-minute city are easy to see. Advocates seem to have forgotten that simple bad weather can make a car indispensable.

Who is going to carry groceries a mile to a half mile, or even carry them on a bus? Forget the bicycle.

This means that residents will have to content themselves with ‘local centers’ – though these ‘have a much smaller range of facilities, and are often slightly less well connected by public transportation.

Those homes with a car will have to count how many times they use it to cross town. There will be permits, penalties, and almost certainly more ubiquitous surveillance.

Sounds like this is as people-centered as it gets in the future.

The Net Zero agenda seems to have taken far too much inspiration from the lockdowns during the pandemic — and soon your 15-minute zone will make it all mandatory.

 

Written by Ron Patton

Comments

This post currently has 5 comments.

  1. Jim Pancaro

    November 17, 2022 at 5:02 pm

    It sounds like a gated community, will they have guard towers, and those giant search lights, for those who try to escape. I’ll be listening.

  2. Rusty

    November 17, 2022 at 9:10 pm

    All that stuff may be well suited for Europe, but this country was made for driving across in gas guzzling cars with big engines. For instance, Norway has a total population of about 5 million, smaller than NYC. So it’s no comparison to this place. Italy, for instance, is full of winding roads that go up & down their hills, perfect for small 2- seater 4 cylinder put-puts, or electric cars. Here we want to plan our towns at the local level, not dictated by wide eyed climat crisis kids, & we want to come & go as we please over long & short distances. Amen.

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    Episode 171 – CITY ON THE EDGE OF 15 MINUTES

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