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Re: article on Vauban, Freiburg in Christian Science Monitor

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  • willtell9z
    ... Monitor ... This is really interesting and there must be many lessons to be drawn considering the obstacles against even thinking about car-free
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 21, 2006
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      --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "bikerick" <bikerick@...>
      > from the December 20, 2006 edition
      > New German community models car-free living
      > By Isabelle de Pommereau | Correspondent of The Christian Science

      This is really interesting and there must be many lessons to be drawn
      considering the obstacles against even thinking about car-free
      development in the UK.
      Does anyone know of harder studies of this project? The newspaper
      article is slightly brathless.

      > There are numerous incentives for Vauban's 4,700 residents to live
      >car-free: Carpoolers get free yearly tramway passes, while parking
      >spots - available only in a garage at the neighborhood's edge - go
      >for €17,500 (US$23,000). Forty percent of residents have bought
      >spaces, many just for the benefit of their visiting guests.

      Hmm, i wonder why I feel slightly sceptic about this. Isnt it a bit
      co-dependent if you're car-free, to buy a garage to enable your
      'guests' in furtherance of their car-dependency?

      >pedestrian-friendly, laid down a lattice of bike paths, and
      >introduced a flat rate for tramways and buses.

      I'd like to see the quality and engineering of the bikepaths. I
      understand that in Germany it's mandatory to use the bikelanes, and
      illegal if you cycle on the road.

      > In 1998, Freiburg bought land from the German government and worked
      >with Delleske's group to lay out a master plan for the area, keeping
      >in mind the ecological, social, economic, and cultural goals of
      >reducing energy levels while creating healthier air and a solid
      >infrastructure for young families. Rather than handing the area to a
      >real estate developer, the city let small homeowner cooperatives
      >design and build their homes from scratch.
      > In retrospect, "It would have been much simpler to give a big
      >developer a piece of land and say, 'Come back five years later with a
      >plan,' " says Roland Veith, the Freiburg city official in charge of
      > But the result is a "master plan of an ecological city ... unique in
      >its holistic approach," says Peter Heck, a professor of material-flow
      >management at Germany's University of Trier, pointing out that this
      >was a community-wide effort involving engineers, politicians, city
      >planners, and residents - not just an environmental group's pilot

      Wonderful, and sounds like a blueprint we could learn a lot from.
      Hard to imagine such a vision in our UK money-grubbing society today
      or such motivated energy from any group of citizens able to persuade
      a UK Local Authority to depart from the convention of gifting sites
      to their favourite bulk-housing Developers.

      > Today, rows of individually designed, brightly painted buildings
      >line streets that are designed to be too narrow for cars.

      Anyone know where to see plans and images?
      Too often ''eco-housing'' turns out to be more like ''ego-housing''.
      Fanciful individualistically ''designed'' houses maybe with tacked on
      energy saving features,like solar heating etc but in essence still the
      usual detached, space-gobbling suburban house. Let's hope this
      housing contributes to the public realm and relates to the city

      > Across Europe, similar projects are popping up. Copenhagen, for
      instance, maintains a fleet of bikes for public use that is financed
      through advertising on bicycle frames.

      I've seen this before but does anyone know of its actually working?

      > Now it's like a movement," says Mr. Heck. "The idea of saving energy
      >for our landscape is getting into the basic planning procedure of
      >German cities."

      All sounds good but how much is wishful thinking?

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