Vauban district : life beyond the car.

Vauban district : life beyond the car.

Vauban district, int the south of Freiburg (Germany) is a former military barrack site, is today a model of sustainable urbanism, whith room for 5500 habitants. Here are some of the features of Vauban’s developement.

Participative developement

The City of Freiburg has bought the area from the Federal Authorities and is responsible for its planning and development. But the citizen participation went far beyond the legal requirements : the citizen’s association “Forum Vauban” applied to coordinate the participation process and was recognized as its legal body by the City of Freiburg in 1995. From the very beginning, Forum Vauban did not want to restrict itself to merely organizing but also developed own suggestions for the planning and building of the district. Therefore the project was created and implemented together with the City of Freiburg and several other partners.

No car, no parkings, more room, more air, less noise:

In Vauban, 70% of the families living there do not have a car : Vauban is one of the biggest projects of “car-free” living in Germany. Buslines, train, tramlines connect the district to the city center. A school, kindergardens, a farmer’s market, businesses, a shopping centre, a food coop, recreation areas, and approximately 600 jobs are within walking and cycling distance. Streets and other public spaces are playground for kids and places for social interaction. It is not forbidden to have a car but the development plan for Vauban prohibits the building of parking space on private property. Instead, private cars are parked in a community car park located at the periphery of the residential area. Cars are only allowed into the residental area for pick-up and delivery. The speed limit on the district’s main road is 30 km/h, in the residential area cars should not drive faster than “walking speed” (5 km/h).

Energy optimization

All the new buildings are built with low energy standard. Around 100 houses will are going to be passive houses that do not need conventional heating systems: the heat requirements are almost entirely covered by so-called internal gains, passive-solar gains and a technically simple heat recuperation system. 10 units of so called “plus energy houses” (houses which – in the average – produce more energy than they need) were built up to December 2000 by an investor. The investor hopes to sell between 100 and 200 more of these houses within the solar settlement which is part of the Vauban area.

More information

Photos of Vauban
Vauban district, Freiburg, Germany
Elisabeth Rosenthal, “In German Suburb, Life Goes On Without Cars”, the New York Times, May 11, 2009
Vauban, Freiburg, Wikipedia