A year ago, the “15-minute city” was simply a clever urban planning theory to make neighborhoods walkable. Recently, conspiracy theorists around the world have branded this idea a secret scheme to take cars away from people and trap residents in “ghettos.”

What has been missing from this debate is simple. It’s evidence.

The concept of 15-minute cities emerged in the 1990s as an alternative to modernist single-use zoning — where homes, offices and retail spaces are divided into separate areas. Imagine replacing this model with mixed-use neighborhoods, where offices, schools, shops and parks are all within a 15-minute walk or bicycle ride from your home. The idea behind the 15-minute city is to turn food deserts and lifeless neighborhoods into bustling communities, while reducing dependence on long commutes.