What’s the Point?

The magazine article headline that caught my eye was “A New Neighborhood is Being Built in Utah That Looks Like a European ‘One-Car Town’”. This told the story of developing a 600 acre (243 hectares) site in Draper, UT into a pedestrian-friendly town with favor given to bike lanes over cars. Author Andy Corbley said that this was like something he might see in the Netherlands. Realizing that potential residents could balk at going completely car-free, the developers are focused on making the use of an automobile unnecessary within the confines of the community. At least 45% of the city will be covered by greenery including sidewalks, bike paths, and roads that lead to the perimeter bus system with connections to Salt Lake City. Hikers and cyclists will have easy access to the river parkway and to the mountain trail system. In describing the target market, one of those developers said, “They want more urban features, they want to know their neighbors, they want to be part of a community.” Hmm, sounds like us. By the way, this new town is called The Point.

A companion article that was much closer to home, made for interesting reading as well. Entitled, “Paris’s mayor wants to build a ’15-minute city’”, telling how Mayor Anne Hidalgo would like to make it possible for anyone living in the capital to reach their work, school, shopping, and recreational spot on foot or bicycle within a quarter of an hour. We find it already pretty easy to get around there on foot, but of course we’ve only been for vacation staying in central hotels. Apparently, half of the working population has a 45-minute commute to work and most say that they would take a pay cut to drastically reduce their time in transit. At least 1000 of the promised 1400 kilometers (870 miles) of bike paths have been opened and greenery is being added to school playgrounds to give the feel of mini-parks throughout.

The concept of a 15-minute city wasn’t new to us having lived in several major US cities where we could walk to shops, restaurants, medical facilities, parks and other recreational outlets; everything except to work; there was always at least a 30-minute bus ride each morning and evening. Now that we have no daily commute we do indeed live within a quarter of an hour’s walk to all of our daily needs. Our guess, however, is that’s probably not unique, in this country or others. Carcassonne has a population of around 50,000 according to World Population Review and using their data I see that France has about 20 other cities within that range, + or – 2000, all of which could offer what we were looking for when we settled here. Be it Paris or Draper, UT it seems to all revolve around The Point, that is, the quality of life.

Photo notes: These are all places where we like to walk in Carcassonne.

5 thoughts on “What’s the Point?

  1. What I’m missing, exactly. You chose well. Suburban sprawl is my idea of a nightmare, and I prefer our little hamlet over it, but walking everywhere would be ideal. Bon dimanche!

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  2. Spot on Bob. Of course our French town’s a bit smaller than Carcassone, only 30,000, but everything’s available in at least 10 minutes (walk or bike). Have you seen Jason Slaughter’s YouTube – Not Just Bikes? He’s got great content on this topic.

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