The idea of a 15-minute city refers to the proximity of services. Claims that it will restrict people's movements are part of conspiracy theories.
The World Economic Forum's (WEF) 53rd annual meeting is being held in Davos from January 16 to 20, 2023. Ahead of the event, several misleading posts about the WEF have been circulating online. One such Facebook post carried a TikTok video claiming that the WEF is implementing a "15-minute city plan to control people." The overlaid text inside the video states, "15-minute cities WEF agenda." Explaining the city plan in the video, the man in the video alleges that "anyone who travels beyond the 15-minute zone could be possibly fined or punished."
He supports his claim by alleging that Oxfordshire County Council in the U.K. has already proposed climate lockdowns, by implementing a 15-minute city plan restricting residents' movements. The video claims that people will be fined £70 if they move outside their designated areas for more than 100 days a year. The video also speculates that the plan is similar to China's social credit score system and that the WEF advocates for it to be implemented worldwide by developing individual carbon footprint tracking devices to control people. However, the claims made in the video are incorrect.
When researching, we found the 15-minute city project was proposed and developed by a French urbanist named Carlos Moreno, which he explains in a YouTube video posted on the channel URBACT. He notes that it is vital to implement decarbonization policies for sustainable urban outcomes due to climate emergencies. He explains that the 15-minute city refers to a neighborhood where all the necessities of daily life — shops, schools, workplaces, doctor's offices, parks, libraries, restaurants, and other amenities — are located within a short 15-minute walk or bike ride from home. This could reduce the use of cars and, ultimately, carbon emissions. The 15-minute city plan does not attempt to keep them under government control. The proposal aims at human proximity so that fewer private vehicles are used.
Oxfordshire County Council has previously clarified that it is not implementing a "climate lockdown," as claimed. Logically debunked this claim in December 2022. The government clarification notes that the 15-minute neighborhoods aim to support and add services, not restrict people's movements. Logically also contacted the Head of Media for the WEF, Yann Zopf, for a comment. He responded, "the WEF has no agenda pushing a project that would not allow people to travel, confine them in a certain area and fine them if they leave it."
Claims made about the 15-minute city as a means to control people and restrict their freedom are a part of larger conspiracy theories like the Great Reset and New World Order, which falsely claim that "elites" worldwide are trying to enslave the population and gain control.
The WEF has denied that it plans to implement a 15-minute city project to restrict people's movements. People are allowed to move beyond their designated areas and enjoy urban life. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.