The most dangerous thing about 15-minute cities?

Written by: Miri
February 3, 2023

How much they will appeal to many.

Just imagine the scene, currently all too common up and down the UK: a struggling low-income household, perhaps a single parent family, that has been battered every which way over the past three years. Perhaps the principal earner lost their job or their small business collapsed during lockdown. Perhaps tragedy hit the family and one parent 'died suddenly', thereby decimating the household's finances. Then, the cost of living crisis hit, and now, so many families can't pay the heating bill or keep up with the ever-spiralling rent (the average UK rent is now an eye-watering £1,172 a month, meaning someone working full-time at minimum wage would, after making rent, have £378 to get through the rest of the month with - including covering their energy bills, which now average over £200 per month, even for moderate use).

If a family has very young children, they somehow have to find the money for childcare whilst they work, and the cost of a full-time nursery place for a child under two is over £1,000 a month.

For older children, families are now having to find emergency childcare to deal with the rolling teachers' strikes, negotiating with not necessarily sympathetic employers to "work from home" (and as we all know, "working from home" whilst young children are present is a bit of a contradiction in terms, or rather, you will work very hard, but not at your paid job).

We are already at the extraordinarily Dickensian point where hungry, cold families are having to use both "food banks" and "warm banks" (central state-controlled hubs that dispense nourishment and warmth to the needy - welcome to workhouse 2.0) in order to survive, and as the UK plunges yet further into the cost of living crisis, and as businesses and major employers continue to collapse, this situation is only going to get worse.

So, if a person is enduring the experiences described above (and very many are, and more soon will be), imagine how they will feel when the government comes along and says, "guess what? We've got the answer to all your prayers! First of all, we're going to pay you a universal basic income, so you don't need to go to work any more - no more lengthy, expensive commutes, no more extortionate childcare costs - you can just stay at home and look after your kids and watch Netflix. We've nationalised the energy companies, so there'll be plenty enough to keep the heating on all day.

"Rent? Don't worry about that. We're axing home ownership and the big banks are buying up all the houses. No worries, you can stay in your house, and we'll pay the rent for you - you just won't be renting from that nice couple down the road any more, because they won't be home owners any more - as no-one will.

"You don't need to worry about running a car any more, either - those huge petrol costs, the insurance, those costly MOTs - because not only do you not need to go to work, but you don't need to take your kids to school, either. No, no, it's all going online now - you know how much these kids love their screens! We've got AI to teach them now, much better than these pesky human teachers and their entitled demands for better pay and conditions. We'll keep the kids busy all day with amazing VR technology, and as long as you're in the house too, you can do what you want - Netflix, Facebook, FaceTiming friends - we've got you covered.

"Won't you need your car to do your shopping? No, no. We've got these great new local, community based districts, you see. Everything you need - groceries, clothes, bits for the house - will be available within a 15-minute walk from your home, and if you can't make the trip, our delivery badgers will bring your shopping right to your door. Wait, what's that? You've got friends and family you need your car to see? Hey, didn't we all get used to those amazing Zoom-based family gatherings during lockdown? Isn't it so much cheaper and more convenient just to see loved ones online - not to mention safer, of course. Wouldn't want you picking up a nasty virus!"

When the offer of 15-minute cities are put in the wider context of what many families are currently having to struggle with, the reality is that this is an exceptionally appealing offer - a far more attractive option that the kind of lifestyle outlined in the initial paragraphs of this article. The UBI / online schools future must be seen as being built into the plans, as that is the only way of ensuring mass compliance with the 15-minute diktats. Obviously, if you need to go to work, or need to take your child to school, you cannot comply with 15-minute cities - but once both you and your child are enabled by UBI and technology to stay at home all day, you can.

I know there's been a lot of mocking and scoffing at the idea of "climate change lockdowns", that, "oh, you conspiracy theorists think the government is going to lock us in our houses to change the weather?". No, they're not going to "lock" us in our houses, as they won't need to. If you have no job (as you're on UBI), if your kids have no school (as they go to online academies staffed by AI), if delivery bots and drones bring all your shopping to you... then realistically, how often will you have cause to leave the house?

The concept of the 15-minute city will inevitably lead to an enormous uptick in how much time people spend in their homes, and no element of "locking" or physical force will be required. Apart from school, work, and shopping, the main reason people leave home is to see family and friends, but with the highly transient and mobile nature of modern society, very few people have friends and family who live in a 15-minute walking distance. I don't and I know people in my local area - but not that local. Don't forget that at a normal human walking speed, 15 minutes is less than a mile.

Don't forget also that the venues people usually use to meet friends - pubs, cafes, and other arms of the hospitality industry - are collapsing at an ever-accelerating pace, a coordinated attack on establishments that facilitate socialising and networking, as that can lead to organising, and a properly organised resistance is the one thing the evil establishment fears most. That is why they have been relentlessly after the great British institution of the pub for such a long time (trussed up in fake concerns over "our health", which is always how the worst kind of dictators enforce their tyrannies).

What is particularly concerning to me about this putative future is that I have, in fact, already lived in a 15-minute city. A lot of us have, actually. They weren't called that at the time, of course, they were called university campuses - 'closed' campuses, where all the facilities are in one centralised location, rather than spread out over a city, such as the universities of Warwick and (where I grew up) Keele.

Let me tell you about the "15-minute city" of Keele campus. Keele resides on the top of a hill, making it both physically and symbolically "separate" from the wider conurbation of North Staffordshire in which it is located. Like the planned 15-minute cities, there are no physical barriers separating Keele from the wider world - but separated it nevertheless remains. At Keele, all first and third year students are guaranteed a room on campus, and many staff families are encouraged to live there, too. Keele is not a large locale, and you can walk from one side to the other in, I would estimate, around 15 minutes. Apart from accommodation and academic buildings, Keele has a small parade of shops, which include a (perennially poorly stocked) grocery store, a newsagent, a bookstore, and (alas) a pharmacy. There's also a sprawling 1960s Students' Union building, which features various budget-friendly eateries and bars. A few minutes walk from there, there's a sports centre, with a gym, squash courts, and football fields.

So, technically, you have everything you need for the duration of your tenure at the university, and you never need to leave.

And it was quite incredible to observe just how many students more or less never did. Even though people would come from all over the country (and indeed world) to study at Keele, something strange and a little bit sinister would happen to them once they entered what was widely known as 'the Keele bubble'. They would get so comfortable in it, addicted to it, almost, that they stopped wanting to leave.

Please don't misunderstand me - there was and is much to be said for such a close-knit and interdependent community. People fell in love with Keele because the combination of the beautiful semi-rural grounds and the friendly, inclusive community gave them a taste of what life used to be like, when people lived in small villages and everyone knew everyone (as the well-worn joke about Keele and similar environments goes, the best thing about it is that everyone knows everyone: and the worst thing about it is that everyone knows everyone).

However, it is perfectly possible to get a healthy balance - to enjoy the village-like atmosphere small and intertwined communities provide, but also to regularly leave them, and to explore the wider world, in all its magnificent diversity and choice. Keele was just an hour's drive or train journey from major metropolitan centres of culture, such as Manchester and Birmingham, but it was spectacularly unusual for Keele students to take advantage of this fact, or even to go a handful of miles down the road to the (then) thriving town centres of Newcastle-under-Lyme and Hanley. I'm not saying they never did, but that it was far rarer than you would think, for energetic young people stuck on top of a hill which had very little going for it in terms of a variety of venues and experiences. Indeed, when I lived there, there were really only two places for the students to go out at night - the Students' Union bar and the Golfer's Arms pub (and the latter has since closed down).

It seemed odd and implausible that young adults from vibrant and exciting cities like London, and further afield, were happy with such little variation and choice, but something seemed to happen to them once they entered 'the Keele bubble', not entirely dissimilar to institutionalisation. People would "joke" about becoming afraid to leave the bubble and venture further afield (such as to the wilds of Morrison's in Newcastle), but, as with much humour, the comedy came from the fact there was a considerable element of truth in it.

I also knew of quite a lot of students who extended their studies far beyond the point they had initially intended, by taking on Master's degrees, PGCEs, PhDs, and not because they were particularly passionate about their subject, but because they were so attached to Keele, and so loathe to (afraid to) leave.

As I said, I'm not entirely knocking this and the cosy, welcoming environment of Keele had many benefits - I had some of the best times in my life there - but here's the thing: the reason people enjoyed it so much was because of their social connections. It's because they lived with multiple different friends, and saw dozens more every time they went to lectures, or to do their shopping or to the SU bar. It wasn't just "essential services" they could access in 15 minutes, it was their best, closest friends, as well, and that - obviously - makes a colossal difference.

Once the student years are over, virtually no-one lives in close proximity to their closest friends and family, and that is by design. We have been intensively socially engineered to move far away from home at the first available opportunity and to see staying close to where we were born as a mark of unambitious and small-minded failure.

If the social engineers had introduced "15-minute cities" 100 years ago, it wouldn't really have made much difference to anyone, as they more or less lived in them anyway.

But after a century of fracturing and scattering families and communities, it will make a huge difference now.

It is no coincidence (there never are any on the world stage) that the overlords have waited until we have more single occupancy households than at any time in history, with people more lonely and disconnected than ever, to spring the 15-minute cities on us. Like any good abuser, they want us completely cut off and isolated, so they can exert maximal control, and with the 15-minute cities, for many, they will have it.

Of course, on an individual level, we can choose not to comply with their agendas as far as is practical and possible, but in opposing the 15-minute cities on a wider, civic and political level, we must be acutely aware of just how appealing these schemes are going to sound to many people, and how enticing and subsuming they might become, once people become effectively institutionalised - "addicted" to the small-town routine and safety, and fearful of venturing further afield (and from my own experiences, I can see this happens much more quickly than one might expect).

We know that fear is the enemy's number one weapon of choice, and with the threat of "the virus" losing its power, they have to inculcate us into fear in other ways. So, in winning this particular battle, it's imperative we are able to communicate to others in an effective way that, for all the apparent surface benefits a 15-minute city may offer, it is not ultimately in our interests. I liked my "15-minute city" of Keele - but I also liked daytrips to Birmingham, Manchester and Sheffield; I liked exploring the peaks and the lakes; I liked meeting new people who I didn't bump into every time I went to the shops. And finally - and this is key - I stopped liking my 15-minute city very much at all, and in fact found it a bleak and depressing ghost town, once there was no longer anybody there I knew.

Given the fact that, post-university, almost nobody has friends and family in a 15-minute radius, these planned hyper-local environments are nothing to do with improving "community" or enhancing anyone's social connections. On the contrary: as everyone lives so far away from each other, this will inevitably lead to more people than ever being lonely and cut off.

In reality, 15-minute cities are nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt of the tyrannical, control-obsessed state to get us all into digital surveillance ("SMART") low-cost prisons, where they can monitor our every move. If you look at the expense involved in housing a traditional prisoner, compared to paying someone housing benefit and a UBI stipend, in a 15-minute city where they have very little reason to ever leave the house, you'll see the latter is the much more economical option - and also, of course, prisoners who don't realise they're in prison, very rarely try to escape.

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9 comments on “The most dangerous thing about 15-minute cities?”

  1. I undertook my undergraduate degree at Keele University back in the 80's and I can relate to what you are saying! Quite a few students did only leave the campus and on a weekend to go to a larger supermarket in the nearest small town. It did not apply to myself and friends I might add (and a number of others) we were off the campus all the time going to restaurants, clubs, concerts, cinema etc and we actually lived off campus for one of the years because it kind of drove us a bit nuts. Anyway putting this aside what I have realised these last few days in meeeting up with a few others (not very aware) that I haven't seen for a while is that the vast majority of people have abolutely no idea that there is a dark agenda going on and have never heard of these LNTs soon to be occuring. They are in their own little World thinking life is normal because they can go out for a meal and book a holiday to Greece. When they realise it will be too late. I was also at the hairdressers recently full of 20 somethings and judging by the conversations I overheard they were all utterly indoctrinated and brainwashed. I heard a mixture of- it was ok to charge and limit driving in cities to reduce CO2, we must deal with the climate change emergency (repeatedly heard in the space of 1hr) and which EV they fancied buying. God help us is all I can say. I wanted to shout at them saying forget your EV you won't be needing it and forget your trip to Greece because it will be outside your 15 mins zone and flights will be rare and prohibitively costly once the toxins in 90% of pilots arms takes hold a bit more (so unfit to fly).

  2. I think it will just carry on splitting up the fewer indoctrinated who refused the injections with the followers who will meekly accept everything anyway. To be honest I find I have very little desire to mix with them anyway as what is there to talk about except the weather?
    I am sure the well aware will find a way round this...we always do. We may be in the minority but we are also the most creative.

  3. This reminds me of something I read recently -
    How long does it take you to walk to your nearest park, woodland, lake or river? If it takes more than 15 minutes, according to the UK government’s new environmental improvement plan for England, something needs to be done about it. It says 38% people in England don’t have a green or blue space within a 15-minute walk of their home.

  4. It caught my eye they have only female students depicted on the main KU website. You have to click quite a few times to see some guys but it looks like that females are still prevalent.

  5. The wheat are being separated from the chaff. There'll be a choice all the way. If you believe men can be women, that Bill Gates sponsored vaccines are for your own good, that politicians are dumb but sort of mean well, that Putin is an evil dictator, that big media are a check on politicians, then your completely lost.

    Don't have to believe in The Bible to see that it is a "how to guide in these times. Making yourself valuable to society generally is essential. The more "essential" your contribution is the better chance you have (I don't buy the sin argument, if your wealthy then you'll sail through this, and your sin level is made irrelevant).

    But there are loads of expendable people about, maybe I am one of them!!

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