Do you want to live in the 15-minute city?

the 15 minute city

Level: B2/C1/ C2

Type of English: general

Lesson activities: listening comprehension, vocabulary building, speaking practice. 

Grammar focus: use of would as a 2nd conditional. 

Tags: 15-minute city, urban life, urban planning

What if everything you needed for daily life was within a 15-minute walk or cycle from your house? 

Half the world’s population live in cities today and by the end of the century that could rise to 90%. 

So, is there a better way to design our cities and make them greener, more sustainable and more people-friendly?

During the 1-hour class your teacher will take notes of your mistakes and make corrections.

These will be emailed to you after the lesson.

It is a good idea to revise the same vocabulary at the start of the next lesson.

Opening Questions:

This video has many different English accents, which accent is the most difficult in your opinion?

What is the worst thing about living in a city?

Can you name something that you can’t afford?

Is your city/ town polluted? 

What do you think about your city council’s decisions recently?

Do you live on a noisy street?

New Vocabulary Questions:

What are dynamics?

If I get behind your idea, what am I doing?

How heavy is a tonne?

How big is a square foot?

How can I get rid of the rubbish?

How long is your commute to work each day?

What happens when you foreground something?

Is it a good idea to strip away nutrition from the earth?

What does it mean if the bank says that my business model is not feasible?

How many zones are in your city?

What is the substitute verb for “to be able to”?

If I pivot in a different direction, what happens?

In your opinion, when is the best time to stretch?

When talking about change, what is a huge stretch?

What does it mean to ghettoise a neighbourhood?

Can you name some typical amenities that each neighbourhood has?

What’s another word for affluent?

Can you describe an economic gap?

If I say that the colour red suits you, what do I mean?

What is the likelihood of the war in Ukraine ending soon?

Can you define biodiversity?

If the bus is due at 4 pm, what does it mean?

If the house falls down due to a fire, what does it mean?

Where are the suburbs and are they a positive or negative?

Watch the Video:

Task: Try to remember the 3 principles of the concept

Listening Comprehension Questions:

What is the main issue with cities?

In your own words, can you explain the concept for the 15 minute city and the 3 principles?

In which cities have they started to adopt this concept?

What happens when we get rid of all the parked cars in a city?

What is the compromise of implementing the 15-minute city?(Answer below)

What is zoning?

What are some possible downsides to this concept?

What happens if we green cities?

How would you describe a local way of life?


What do you think about the total amount of time we spend commuting?

What makes a city a city?

Is urbanisation the way forward?

Do you agree that we “design the city to optimise for the day time labour market”? 

Would you like to see your city implement the 15 minute city? 

New Vocabulary Practice:

When we use new vocabulary in a different context It helps to memorize. 

Can you name a dynamic sport?

Would you get behind the idea of moving to another country for work?

If I have a tonne of things to do, what is happening?

How many square feet in a square meter?

Name 1 thing you need to get rid of in your life?

How do you commute to work each day?

What is in the foreground of your mind generally?

Where in the world have human rights been stripped away?

Can you use feasible in a question?

Can you use the word zone in 2 different ways/contexts?

Why do we use “to be able to” in business English?

If a politician suddenly pivots, what happened?

Is making a presentation in English a huge stretch for you?

What are the essential amenities in a city?

Does your city have affluent parts and ghetto parts?

What creates an economic gap?

Can you use suit in 2 different contexts?

What is the another way to say probability?

How important is biodiversity for you?

Grammar Focus:

Answering questions with the 2nd conditional:

Where would you go if you could go anywhere in the world?

What would you do if you won the lottery?

Would you consider moving to the USA for work?

Solution and definitions:

The 3 principles of the concept:

1. The rhythm of the city follows the people

2. Each square meter serves different purposes 

3. Most things are within 15 minutes commute 


Q: What is the compromise of implementing the 15-minute city? 

A: A significant redesign of the infrastructure. Is that feasible?


A dynamic situation = a constantly changing situation / with moving parts 

To get behind = to support 

a tonne = 1000 lb 

to get rid of = to remove / to throw away 

the rubbish = the garbage 

In the foreground = at the front of your mind / to think about something mostly 

to strip away = to remove without replacing 

to be able to = to can 

To pivot = to change direction

to stretch = to warm muscles 

a huge stretch = something quite difficult 

to ghettoise = to make a barrio a ghetto 

amenities = basic services / public services 

affluent = rich 

suits you = is appropriate for you / looks good on you 

likelihood = probability 

biodiversity = a variety of biological life in an environment 

is due = expected 

due to = because of 

suburbs = neighbourhoods outside the main city 


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