The sleepy little town of Pleszew on Wielkopolska has recently gained worldwide recognition as the first 15-minute “town” in Poland.
The picturesque city has joined with an illustrious group of heavyweights, including Amsterdam, Paris, Vienna, Budapest, Rome, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Milan, to implement the idea of a 15-minute city in which everything people need for their lives is within 15 minutes on foot, by bike, or by public transportation.
News of the town’s actions reached the creator of the fifteen-minute concept, Professor Carlos Moreno from France, who shared the town’s achievement on his Facebook page, and even the Parisian Sorbonne, which wrote about Pleszew on Twitter.
Pleszew, which has a population of 18,000, has been implementing the fifteen-minute idea for three years, and in doing so, the city has worked with Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Krakow University of Economics, Warsaw University and the Polish Academy of Sciences.
Pleszew Mayor Arkadiusz Ptak told TFN: “We know that we are not a big city, where the idea of 15 minutes is normally implemented, but we want to take advantage of our compactness and exploit it for the benefit of everyone who lives here.”
While it’s true that most parts of the city can already be reached with a short walk or bike ride, the city has worked hard to ensure that public transport links easily connect important points.
The network of cycle paths in the center is being expanded and well-equipped modern crèches, kindergartens and schools can be accessed from where people live.
The movements are reflected in how the city is presented. Calling itself Compact Pleszew, the city has reserved the domain for the website miasto15.pl.
“For us it is not a fad theory or a marketing slogan. Compact Pleszew is a real campaign and a consistently implemented development plan that effectively incorporates the concepts of a green city and a smart city,” explains Ptak, who has been the mayor of Pleszew for three years.
The strategy is already successful, says Ptak, who says more people come to Pleszew than leave. However, he admits that it is a challenge to stop the outflow of young people to nearby Kalisz or further afield to Poznań.
The fifteen-minute concept fits into a broader trend in Polish society, recently shown in a CBOS survey this year, which indicated that only 13 percent of Poles would like to live in a big city. The rest said that they would prefer to live in the country or in a town or small or medium-sized city.
Promoting the concept, the local authority posted a film on YouTube a few weeks ago called Pleszew – Compact City showing how the 15-minute city works in practice.
In the film, a resident is shown living a normal day in the city, easily reaching important places in less than 15 minutes.
The young woman begins by walking in front of the award-winning Bakery Museum housed in an old traditional bakery.
After a couple of minutes, dressed in a flannel shirt and denim shorts, she appears at the town hall and registry office where local residents can take care of all the necessary administrative matters.
After crossing the market square with its eclectic mix of two- and three-story terraced houses, he hops on a bike and in a couple of minutes arrives at the modern factory of Japanese machine tool manufacturer DMG Mori.
Passing well-equipped recreational and sports facilities, as well as a swimming pool with an impressive waterslide that twists like a snake outside the building, he goes for a brisk run through the city forest park before heading to a session at school. of music.
A short minibus ride sees her arriving just fifteen minutes later at the Zajezdnia Kultury cultural center, which recently opened in restored former railway buildings.
After being noticed by Professor Morenos, founder of the concept, Pleszew has been invited to join a consortium, which will apply to the European Union for funds to implement urban policies in the field of sustainable mobility and housing.