15-Minute Cities: Do You Live in One?

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Have you ever heard of the “15-minute” city? If not, you should brush up on it. But if you already live in a place where every essential amenity is within walking distance from you, then you don’t need to ask the question.

Here is what is accepted as a somewhat formal definition, according to C40KnowledgeHub.org:

In a ’15-minute city’, everyone is able to meet most, if not all, of their needs within a short walk or bike ride from their home. It is a city composed of lived-in, people-friendly, ‘complete’ and connected neighborhoods. It means reconnecting people with their local areas and decentralizing city life and services.”

This refers to amenities such as schools, groceries, doctors’ clinics, gyms, shopping malls, and arguably even your workplace. 

A new interactive map created by Hero Technologies allows American citizens to see if their city can be classified as a “15-minute” city. 

You simply type in your address or zip code, and the results will pop up. There are also options for a “20 minute” city and a “15-minute drive” city. With either option, you’ll see how many things are truly accessible to you. 

The concept is not entirely new in nature, but it is being pushed by major cities worldwide as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A way for people to exercise more and improve their health, all while keeping things sustainable for both the city and its inhabitants. 

Frankly, I’m all for it. As someone who has always lived in a major metropolitan area, I cannot tell you how incredibly convenient it is to be in this situation. It does require some extra planning and research ahead of time… but once you find a place, you hold on to it for dear life. 

It’ll be interesting to see how places will re-engineer their existing urban landscape to make this a reality. Or for that matter, how developing cities will transition towards a reality where everyone won’t have to rely on a car to access the necessities. 

What do YOU think about the “15-minute” city? Have you ever lived in one, and if so, do you recommend it? Share your experiences with us by replying to the newsletter!

Guess Who’s Buying the Expensive Luxury Homes in London?

London’s highest-priced high-end homes are starting to see a new buyer emerge from the shadows. And they’re coming entirely from overseas. 

Up until the COVID-19 pandemic, it used to be the Chinese who had millions of dollars to through around. But according to new research from Knight Frank, the weakening value of the British pound and the uncertainty behind Brexit has opened up the competition significantly.

In the first 9 months of 2020, here are the overseas buyers who are snatching up all the luxury homes:

  • France: 11%
  • Hong Kong: 9.2%
  • United States: 9.2%
  • China: 8.3%
  • India: 7.3%

The article explains how these international buyers were suddenly able to afford the homes:

Since the Brexit referendum in 2016, those who have paid for prime London properties in euros have enjoyed a 30% discount from currency moves and the decline in the luxury market.”

Let’s see if this trend keeps up!

Europeans Are Working Hard but Not Partying Hard

The phrase “work hard, play hard” is an accurate description of the never-ending hustle culture that is prominent in the United States. 

But in Europe, the latter half of that phrase is starting to fade away. According to data from Moovit, public transport use in several European cities such as London, Madrid, Paris, and Helsinki are starting to rise back towards pre-pandemic levels. The same can be said for the rise of travel to workplaces in countries like Germany, France, Spain, and the UK. 

The same cannot be said for travel towards bars and restaurants, which apparently has stalled for the past three months and is arguably on a decline. This can be attributed to the increasingly restrictive lockdowns in light of the second COVID-19 wave. 

And sadly, international travel to and from Europe is starting to go down after a brief recovery during the summer season. Not to mention that hotels in Europe are currently at 40% capacity and don’t appear to be rising up.

It’s a sad time for the Europeans. Not only are job opportunities depressed by 20-50% compared to the same time last year, but the entertainment hubs are also getting less activity. You can’t work, and even if you have the money, you can’t enjoy it…

Imagine Getting on an Airplane, Not Knowing Where It Will Go…

Picture a scenario where you book a domestic flight in your country… but you have NO idea where it is going to go until 48 hours before the plane is scheduled to take off. Nor do you know what or where your hotel is going to be located.

If you love the mystery and the thrill behind this idea, then you’re going to love the newest travel package being offered by Air New Zealand. 

Their “Mystery Breaks” package is a round-trip flight that could take you to one of 20 different destinations within the country: New Plymouth, Gisborne, Auckland, and many more are part of this list. You get to eliminate one city you DO NOT want to travel to, which leaves 19 more in play. 

Air New Zealand is offering this package in three separate tiers…

  • Great Mystery Break: 3-4 star Accor hotel, daily breakfast, return hotel transfers, two night stay ($599/person)
  • Deluxe Mystery Break: 4-4.5 star Accor hotel, daily breakfast, Avis rental car, two nights ($699/person)
  • Luxury Mystery Break: 5-star hotel, daily breakfast and dinner, luxury-class Avis rental car, two nights ($1,629/person)

Not only can the vacations be bought as gifts in the form of a voucher, but you also have the privilege of no change fees whatsoever. Considering that 20.4% of all total exports come from global travel for the small island country, it’s a desperate yet much-needed effort to restore their tourism industry. 

Would YOU be willing to go on this kind of mini-vacation? Why or why not? Reply to this newsletter and tell us if you dare to go on this mystery adventure!

Canada-US Border Restrictions Get Extended, Again and Again

There was no way for anybody to see this coming… NOT!

In an announcement made by the Liberal government of Canada, all non-essential travel restrictions between them and the US are being extended until November 21st from the previous expiry date of October 21st

This has been going on since March and every single month sees yet another extension. At this rate, they might as well make it indefinite without any estimated time of expiry until they make a firm decision about what should be done. 

Obviously, there are still exceptions to this rule. Essential workers and delivery services will still be allowed through the border via road travel, along with people re-uniting with their families or attending funerals. And like before, air traffic is still permissible between the two countries. 

At the same time, I seriously doubt that people are enthusiastic to hop in a car and cross the border in either direction. Most of us would rather prefer to take a car trip without our cities/states and keep things simple…

People Are BUYING Used Vehicles for Higher Prices Than Before…

Used cars are considered to be one of the closely guarded secrets of the financially fortunate and well-off. Rather than get tied to expensive monthly lease payments for a brand-new vehicle, they buy an older yet somewhat recent car in full and ride it until it breaks down. 

But strangely enough, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to record sales for used vehicles. Not only are people literally traveling hundreds of miles just to pick up their cars, but they are also PAYING MORE for said vehicles (sometimes more than new vehicles themselves). 

According to KAR Global, the average price of a full-size pickup truck has increased 31.5% since February, increasing by $5,166 to an all-new high of $21,557. 

So what’s causing this? A few factors…

The pandemic has obviously led to the closure of a LOT of businesses. One of them happened to be automakers and their plants. With few to no employees, there is a far lower supply of newer vehicles. 

And thanks to the nature of how the coronavirus is spread, people were avoiding ride-sharing and public transportation like the plague. They wanted their own vehicle to travel around despite not having owned a vehicle before, but didn’t want to splurge on the latest 2021 model. 

It’s a sign from God himself for automobile salespeople, who are calling this “the hottest market we’ve ever seen in more than 20 years.” 

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