“Conspiracy theories” about 15-minute cities are “false”, “unhinged”, “dangerous” and “not to be believed”, declare mainstream media in unified chorus.
“In recent years, conspiracy theories that were once almost unheard of have spread like wildfire, with a growing number of Australians now sceptical of things like vaccines, 5G and election results,” News.com.au reports in one such article, titled, ‘Inside the 15-minute city conspiracy theory sucking in gullible Australians’.
The article explains that 15-minutes cities (also called Smart Cities) are a commonsense way of attempting to boost liveability for residents. City dwellers in proposed Smart Cities – including Melbourne, Paris, London, Edmonton and Oxford – will have access to everything they need within a 15 to 20-minute walk, cycle or public transport trip, and that’s really all there is to it.
“Anyone who has ever faced a long and painful commute will immediately see the appeal of having the daily essentials at their fingertips,” the article assures readers.
However, “gullible Australians” who cannot appreciate commonsense or convenience have been “sucked in” to a “dangerous conspiracy”. These “unhinged” conspiracy theorists actually believe that Smart Cities are “part of a secret plan by global elites to restrict people’s freedom and movements” – a form of lockdown justified by climate action.
Never mind that Western governments have just spent the past three years abusing their powers with gross overreach and wanton disregard for their citizens’ will or wellbeing, which might make some people nervous about giving government more control over movement, commerce, energy consumption and the like. The article notes that conspiracies about 15-minute cities have been flagged as “false information” on Facebook, so that really settles it, they’re definitely false.
The Victorian Government claims that Smart Cities are a benefits-only proposition, as depicted in the nice pastel coloured infographic on the official Government page detailing plans for Melbourne’s transformation into a Smart City. These plans extend to regional Victoria also. Residents in the Yarra Ranges (just under an hour’s drive from Melbourne) report that their council is already implementing a Smart City Urban Development Framework.