Our Own Little Bubble – in defence of the 15-minute neighbourhood

There seems to be a lot of push back in the press about 15 minute neighbourhoods that had some sort of socialist plot by George Soros, Antifa, Black Lives Matter, Jeremy Corben and the New World Order. But I have to say that I love our own little 15-minute neighbourhood it’s a small slice of heaven

What is 15 minute neighbourhood

15-minute neighbourhood it may surprise you to find praise you to find is a neighbourhood where you can live and have everything you need within 15 minutes that’s 15 minutes of active of travel – it could be walking could be cycling, the bus or tram train or metro but everything you need is on your doorstep.

This is the type of neighbourhood you want to live in. When you look at houses for sale, they always describe what the local communities are: “Close to shops, schools, transport links, and parks” that’s what you want.

It seems obvious, but sometimes, the obvious things need to be said out loud. Having what you need for your everyday life on your doorstep is very important. Specifically not a 15-minute drive away.

The problem with cars

For you to have a 15 minute neighbourhood where amenities aroad where amenities are within 15 minutes that could be your dentist, your school, your swimming pool, your greengrocers, butchers, your library – anything like that you need to have a you need to have a certain density of population otherwise it just doesn’t work.

And what decreases housing density?

Car centric neighbourhoods where everything is accessible by car every detached house has got a garage and a driveway and the roads are sized for drivers a d not walkers/cyclists.

With this need for more space, things get more spread out, meaning that nothing’s within walking distance and you have the hellscape that you see in America where nobody walks anywhere. Aren’t those Americans dangerously overweight? So much so that having a car to cart you around is just a petrol powered wheelchair that will turn you obese?

GFF the Hypocrit

We do own a car it sits outside on the street for 23 hours a day for 5 or 6 days a week. Our car does take up space that could be used for something else, and it does stretch out our neighbourhood a bit.

Could we do without one? Yes, no, maybe. With the kids it a bit difficult car seats and the such but we could just rent a car when we need one.

It would probably cost us less overall. It would be less stressful to rent one when needed. And I wouldn’t have the headache of every January worrying about old Clanky passing its MOT or not.

The lady and I did discuss if we moved abroad to a city would we have a car or not. For me it was an obvious “no”. City living means you’ve got connectivity, so you don’t need a car and why would you want to waste space when we have we might have to compromise on a 3rd or 4th bedroom why would we spend so much money on a parking space. Or why have roads full of traffic and car parks full of cars when you can have squares, plazas, parks?

The reason we don’t have a garden at the moment or a garage is that each one of those might add £50,000 onto the cost of your house in cheap Scotland. In a big European city or England – it’ll be more.

To move to where you can have a car more easily means you lose that big city feeling, which is what we kind of want (in our doomed dream to escape the UK/Scotland).

But what we do have here is a great neighbourhood. When I go out to get milk or pick the kids up or go to the green grocers, I bump into people that I know and have gotten to know. I also get exercise fresh air and a breakfast fresh air and a break from the home office.

The same equally goes for classes for my kids. If I’m able to walk there so much, the better, and I don’t want to be one of these yo yo dads, drop off and pick up taxi man.

I see that the parents who drop their kids off only to come back 50 minutes later, and they’ve driven each way.

They could walk it, it’s only 15 minute often on foot but they need to take the car because who can be bothered spending 15 minutes walking there (and back and then back again, then home).

Once you stop thinking of your car as an extension of yourself, you can free yourself from car-centric behaviours.

Honestly, What would you rather do: Drive out to the ring road sit in traffic go through drive traffic go through drive-through Costa coffee to get your caffeine, or in my case walk 5 minutes get a choice of nice cafes from friendly people in an independent café.

It seems pretty obvious to me. And hopefully you.

But why the push-back against 15 minute neighbourhoods?

I think the big push-back against 15-minute neighbourhoods is from those people who don’t live in them. And especially those who have to drive for a living – or to get to their place of work. Ironically, it could be the delivery driver of Amazon packages for those who live in their 15-minute bubble. Jealousy?

Or it could be those that live in new houses built on the outskirts without local amenities, those with double garages, multiple ensuites bathrooms, and astroturf under the kids’s trampolines. Luxury executive developments, easily accessible from junction what not of the A-something or other.

These houses were developed without living in mind – just 200 Barratt boxes planted in a field in the middle of nowhere.

This isn’t to say that all cities are good to live in. A big problem in the uk is that city centre apartments were city centre apartments were built with investors in mind. Not for the wellbeing of the tenants.

I suspect this will rumble on in the right wing press; with London’s plan for the ultra low emission zone, Low traffic neighbourhoods, and a focus on making active travel like cycling easier in our easier in our towns and cities. The war on woke seems to mean that if you can’t drive your car everywhere you want – it’s political correctness gone mad.

So I’m happy where we live it’s really lovely. We don’t have a garden but we do have a park on our doorstep. We walk the kids to nursery in school or cycle. I don’t need to sit in traffic to get to my job. It makes you less selfish and more open to sharing, probably more tolerant too.

I’ve embraced a better way of living. And that’s why, despite the UK on a managed downward trajectory, I don’t feel like I can leave it because I feel like I belong here in our own little bubble.

Thanks, GFF

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8 Comments

  1. > To move to where you can have a car more easily means you lose that big are more easily mean you lose that big city feeling which is what we kind of want.

    > So I’m happy where we live it’s really lovely we’ve got really lovely.

    were you testing ChatGPT on this 😉

    I was surprised that the wingnuts chose this hill to die on. We get our milk on foot from a stall run by a farming family and I can walk to the supermarket and the library, though we will drive to haul stuff from the shops if it’s a bulk shop. Most days I walk out into fields and farmland only about 10 mins away from my front door.

    The least walkable place I lived was my parents place in SE London – the nearest shops were more than 15 minutes walk away, the railway station was 45 mins away by foot and the main shopping are with supermarkets etc was a mile and a half away. I suppose that made the house more affordable. Wasn’t too bad for school, I walked about 15 minutes there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was trying out the voice writing function of WordPress – it makes rambling a lot easier (another advantage of a 15 minute neighbourhood btw, rambling).

      It’s true that some parts of cities can be terrible to live in – noise, pollution, inaccessibility and a lack of greenery.
      That’s probably a big driver for people moving from the big smoke to idyllic places like Somerset or Scotland.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. > voice writing

        Wow, in which case I am amazed it worked as well as it did. Last time I tried Dragon Naturally speaking it produced pretty much line noise 😉

        Like

      2. It did require a bit of editing, but it was quicker than typing – although you’ll note the lack of numbers and acronyms used and other jargon.
        It does have the habit of repeating what you speak – so much so that I thought I might have an unconscious stutter that people hear, but my brain erases (it’s a real thing!)

        Like

      1. I went to visit my nephew’s dad’s new-build house. It pretty much is in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by farmland, in the deepest Norfolk. The nearest supermarket is 5 miles away…. However there is a pub within walking distance, which for him was the priority, haha!

        Liked by 1 person

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