Call For Speakers: 15 Minute City

Arguably the most important urban policy response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been the FIFTEEN MINUTE CITY plan of Anne Hidalgo, recently re-elected as Mayor of Paris. This builds upon the long established notion that people should be able to access most daily needs within 15 minutes of their home, reducing commuting lengths and transport demand, and promoting local neighbourhoods.

Is the FIFTEEN MINUTE CITY a welcome or effective way to organise urban life? An urban quarter in a quarter of an hour? Could it draw investment, services and power back into local communities?  Or does it misjudge the nature of cities, including the economic, cultural and political role of city centres?

The first joint AoU-UDG Online Symposium will explore these questions and more, including how the concept it is being articulated globally alongside other responses to the pandemic.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions on large group gatherings this year, the UDG and AoU cannot run their respective annual Conference/Congress in real venues. We have therefore come together to host a shared online gathering.

The Symposium will open with an introductory networking event on the evening of Wednesday 16 September. Then on Thursday 17 and Friday 18 there will be a mix of mainstream sessions and fringe events, leaving delegates with plenty of time to have a break or catch up with their work.

There will be a mix of international guest speakers alongside sessions with presentations from AoU and UDG members. There will also be Fringe events including a quiz, book club and more……

Call for Speakers

AoU and UDG members of all ages and backgrounds are invited to put forward proposals for short presentations, or fringe events and activities.  Don’t just attend the events … be a part!

Short Presentations - 5 mins

We are inviting members of the UDG and AoU to address aspects of the FIFTEEN MINUTE CITY, including neighbourhood and identity, housing and community facilities, walking and cycling, employment and economy. Come back to us with your 5 minutes of insight, information and inventiveness. A few prompts below but don't feel restricted...


How can we change our society so that more of our needs can be met within a 15 minute walk or cycle-ride?  Can we re-localise? 

Work: Manufacture, Commerce, Distribution; Friendships and families; Shopping; Education; Medical services; Leisure: Sport, Recreation; Hospitality; Entertainment; Play and so on…


What physical changes should we make to enable 15 minute lifestyles?

Factories, offices, warehouses and workplaces; Homes; Shops; Markets; Parks; Play grounds; Countryside and access to it; Allotments; Streets; Schools; Universities; Theatres and cinemas; Hospitals and health centres; Pubs, café’s, restaurants; Libraries, museums, galleries, public meeting places; Places of worship; Car parks; Storage areas; Lighting, greening, stream and river corridors, beauty, monuments, art  etc

Transport systems: Public transport; Walking and cycling; Light Rail; Bus, new interchanges; Mobility as a Service; Pipes and conduits, autonomous vehicles, micromobility, etc


How can we change ourselves to match the 15 minute lifestyles and travel-styles?

Children; Ageing society, relationships between different generations; Inclusion; Gender;  Ethnicity; Crime and distrust vs friendship; Mutuality and pro-social behaviour; Community activities, community and relationship development etc


What is the best way to organise and govern the 15 minute city?

Local government structure; Involving people; Co-design; Regulation vs market mechanisms; Funding; The role of planning; The role of regulation in highways and transport – road pricing, subsidies, speed control, parking, modal filters, etc


How can we change our economic system so that our lives can be localised?

Economies of scale, taxation and property rates; Internet and doorstep delivery based economies, vs place-based trading; Robotization, digital printing; Downsizing, economising, circular economic systems, local economic trading systems, information systems that prioritise local providers, recycling etc


  • If you think the 15 minute city is a nonsense, a fad, or a political marketing ploy
  • an old idea given a new name
  • if you think that we already have 15 minute neighbourhoods, and it is just a question of degree
  • or have better ideas!

Please think about giving a presentation – we are looking for contributions from people at all stages in life and career. And by 15 minute city – we mean 15 minute neighbourhoods, and 15 minute towns too.

Fringe events or contributions

If you have an unusual, dynamic, fun or shocking idea – let us know. It could be a mini-film about some aspect of the urban environment. A poem. A piece of music...

We hope to see you online in September! 

Please use the online form for your proposals by 19 August 2020