December 29, 2006

German Town Development Pioneers Car-Free Living For Families

Unfortunately for readers in the Philadelphia area, that's "a German town," not "Germantown."

Vauban is a new, 2,000-home development in the university town of Freiburg, Germany that's being developed on a 94-acre former military base as a haven for green, family-friendly, car-free living. There are 150 cars/1,000 residents, compared to the city-wide average of 430, and the US average of 640. Of course, a key factor is that a full 1/3 of the town's population is under 18 years old.

The streets are too narrow for cars, and there are tons of playgrounds and parks, four kindergartens and a Waldorf school. According to the district's website, the main goal was to develop the community in a sustainable, co-operative, participatory way. There are no single-family houses. The US city the CS Monitor compares it to is Davis, California, also a bike-friendly, liberal, college town.

Which is all awesome. If you're a no-nukes, bikin' treehuggin' babymaking egghead hippie. Otherwise, just live in New York City.

New German Community Models Car-free Living
[csmonitor via archinect]
Vauban District, Freiburg [vauban.de]

1 Comment

I live in the DC area and there is a small (and I mean small) neighborhood near the herndon neighborhood that is set up similar to that, but it's too small for a school all to itself, but in general, I LOVE the concept. They are single family homes, but they all have front porches, walk paths to each of the homes, no drives. All families can have a car (as this is America and it isn't near the train), but they have to park it up the hill and then walk to their house. All houses are placed so that are part of the group and there are community responsibilities that they all share. They have a community center with weekly community meals and a community garden... I don't know all the details, but I would LOVE to live there, but there's never an opening and we wouldn't be able to afford it anyway. Housing prices in the DC area is expensive enough without the high demand for this special community.

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