‘This is about control’: Edmonton ’15-minute cities’ policy pursuit proves conspiracy theorists right

Conspiracy theorists are once again saying, “We told you so!”

It wasn’t long ago that talk about “15-minute cities” that will trap residents in divided communities would relegate you to the Tin Foil Hat Brigade, but the Canadian city of Edmonton has announced it is moving ahead with plans to do exactly that.

In an email blast, the City of Edmonton explained, “District plans are key in bringing The City Plan’s ‘Community of Communities’ vision to life by laying the foundation for 15-minute communities.”

“Last February, the city announced it would divide its 400 neighborhoods into many 15-minute cities, calling it a ‘necessary tool,'” Rebel News reports. “According to the District Planning Guide, building a ‘community of communities — small towns in our big city’ is a multi-year project to accommodate people.”

“This vision is for new and current residents to enjoy more housing, recreation, education and employment opportunities in all of Edmonton’s districts and to have more travel options within and across districts,” the email reads, according to the Western Standard.

As any conspiracy theorist will tell you, the United Nations has been backing the 15-minute city concept in concert with the New Urban Agenda for years.

According to the UN in 2022:

The 15-minute city concept is an urban model conceived by Professor Carlos Moreno and scientists from Chaire ETI at the Sorbonne Business School. It has been adopted by several cities around the world as a blueprint for post-COVID-19 recovery.

It is an integrated approach bringing together mobility, housing, economic development, education, and culture and ensuring that daily needs are close at hand in every neighbourhood – within a 15-minute journey. This concept has sparked a global movement to tackle the pandemic, car dominance, climate change, and urban inequality by reintroducing the qualities of proximity within urban planning. The 15-minute city has become a global movement influencing a range of local adaptations of the approach to advance the New Urban Agenda.

 

Critics call the reality of 15-minute cities, coupled with digital surveillance, “dystopian.”

According to Canadian investment banker W. Bret Wilson, the concept is really “about control.”

“Total nonsense. People BUY or RENT their homes and have the right to work and play and school and eat and shop where ever they damn well please,” he fumed on X. “This is about control. Nothing more.”

“Council ⁦for [the City of Edmonton] can FO,” he added.

“And did those who live there consent to this?” asked one user. “No. So it’s time for lawsuits to fly. This will impact real estate values, living conditions and the ability to get goods and services. Sue!”

Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi assured residents the 15-minute city will make everyone’s lives “easier.”

“Supporting a greater variety of local small businesses serving their neighbourhoods through community hubs, revitalizing strip malls, and supporting small-scale development. Reducing our environmental footprint by making it easier to drive less,” Sohi said in the policy campaign, according to Rebel News. “When I envision an Edmonton for everyone, I picture a city whose form makes the lives of people living in it easier. I picture neighbourhoods designed to reduce energy consumption for all, and I think of vibrant communities with busy streets and citizens.”

At least one Edmonton University student isn’t so sure.

“Our mayor, Amarjeet Sohi, would like Edmonton to become a 15-minute city, limiting our movement between districts, as they call it,” Alexa Posa told Rebel News. “They want us to spend 90% of our life in this 15-minute area so they can monitor our carbon footprint, also known as our actual footprint.”

The plan will be spun with positivity by the city, Posa predicted, “because if they didn’t, no one would agree.”

Melissa Fine

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