New German Community Models Car-Free Living

vauban_schrittempo.jpg
The Vauban Department of Transportation gets to work. Schritt Tempo: Walking Speed.

Freiburg, Germany is a place you need to know about if you are interested in models for reducing automobile dependence. Here is a great story by Isabelle de Pommereau from Wednesday’s Christian Science Monitor:

FREIBURG, GERMANY: It’s pickup time at the Vauban kindergarten here at the edge of the Black Forest, but there’s not a single minivan waiting for the kids. Instead, a convoy of helmet-donning moms – bicycle trailers in tow – pedal up to the entrance.

vauban-kinder_1.jpgWelcome to Germany’s best-known environmentally friendly neighborhood and a successful experiment in green urban living. The Vauban development – 2,000 new homes on a former military base 10 minutes by bike from the heart of Freiburg – has put into practice many ideas that were once dismissed as eco-fantasy but which are now moving to the center of public policy.

With gas prices well above $6 per gallon across much of the continent, Vauban is striking a chord in Western Europe as communities encourage people to be less car-dependent. Just this week, Paris unveiled a new electric tram in a bid to reduce urban pollution and traffic congestion.

"Vauban is clearly an offer for families with kids to live without cars," says Jan Scheurer, an Australian researcher who has studied the Vauban model extensively. "It was meant to counter urban sprawl – an offer for families not to move out to the suburbs and give them the same, if better quality of life. And it is very successful."

Read the rest of the story…

Photos: Vauban web site

  • Nicolo Machiavelli

    I believe that Freiburg, like many other German cities, also bans cars from the old walled center city. They were conscious of the polution effects on the infrastructure of the old city maybe forty years ago and began devising schemes to protect it. One thing leads to another.

  • v

    but now who will hit kids as they cross the street?

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Cities Must Become More Resilient to Survive

|
The idea that cities are greener than suburbs has gotten a lot of attention lately. But a recently published book argues that in a future of diminishing resources, cities themselves are going to have to become much more efficient and inventive if they are to be sustainable — indeed, if they are to survive at […]

The Political Climate That Makes Transportation Reform Run

|
When House transportation committee chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN) recently accused his colleagues of lacking the "political will" to pursue long-term reform of infrastructure policy, he wasn’t simply employing a D.C. rhetorical flourish. To understand what Oberstar meant, let’s travel to Berlin for a moment. A German-made high-speed rail car. (Photo: Spiegel) Colby Itkowitz, CQ’s crack […]

Rocky Road

|
Cycling intimately acquaints you with every bump, slice, crease, divot, ledge, ripple and of course pothole in a street, because not noticing means you might get thrown off your steed into bone-breaking and life ending car traffic. While riding along Lafayette Street in Manhattan, or Bergen Street in Brooklyn, or essentially anywhere in New York […]

Mayor Livingstone: $50 to Drive an SUV into Central London

|
London Mayor Ken Livingstone said yesterday that he wants to introduce an emissions-based congestion charging fee in an attempt to reduce his city’s carbon dioxide output and to encourage cleaner transportation. The mayor’s proposal is to charge the heaviest polluting vehicles emitting 225 grams of CO2 per kilometer, a £25 fee to drive into London’s Central Business District. At today’s […]

Cartoon Tuesday: Mode Switch

|
This number from cartoonist Bob Lafay makes a good companion to last week’s news that some bike models are in short supply throughout New York City, perhaps reflecting the effect of gas prices on manufacturers’ inventories. The panic subsides once you start pedaling.

Talking Headways Podcast: High-Speed Rail Lessons from France and Germany

|
This week we’re joined by Eric Eidlin, a community planner and sustainability lead at the Federal Transit Administration. Over the last few years Eric has also been studying high-speed rail in Germany and France as a fellow with the German Marshall Fund. He recently published a report, “Making the Most of High-Speed Rail in California: Lessons from France and Germany.” Eric […]