Around the world, the Great Lockdowns will accelerate new ideals about how we live. The philosophy of the ’15 minute world’ is one of the most important. Here in Britain, it’s a movement the West Midlands should lead. Not only is it the right thing to do, it offers us an enticing chance to reclaim and rekindle one of our greatest gifts to Britain: the Art & Crafts movement and its child, the urban village.

Popularised by Parisian politician, Anne Hildago, the “15-minute” world is suddenly very fashionable. Theorised by Professor Carlos Moreno at the Sorbonne as “la ville du quart d’heure” it’s an idea that promises to change the way we live, with a world like the medieval city, where the daily urban necessities — work, shops, entertainment, education and healthcare — are no more than a 15-minute reach on foot or by bike.

Mayors around the world are excited. Milan’s Giuseppe Sala declared in April that his city would become the latest to “rethink the rhythms” of the Lombard capital. Portland promotes 20-minute…

Liam Byrne MP

Shadow Mayor of the West Midlands. Chair, Parliamentary Network on the World Bank & IMF. MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill. Gwilyn Gibbon Fellow, Nuffield College.

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