----- Original Message -----
From: "willtell9z" <willtell9z@...>
Sent: Thursday, December 21, 2006 1:33 PM
Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: article on Vauban, Freiburg in Christian
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "bikerick" <bikerick@...>
> from the December 20, 2006 edition
> New German community models car-free living
> By Isabelle de Pommereau | Correspondent of The Christian Science
> FREIBURG, GERMANY
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.
[Markus]: there are a lot of studies about the Vauban model, but most only
in german. For example, one about the evaluation of the mobility concept
(from 2003) is here ("Evaluation des Verkehrskonzeptes im autoreduzierten
Stadtteil Freiburg-Vauban"): http://www.wohnen-plus-mobilitaet.nrw.de/download/fachbeitraege/fb_33.pdf
One important point of the study is: 57 % of the carfree households gave up
their car when moving in.
This is a crucial point in the discussion how to reduce CO2 emissions.
> 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?
[Markus]: There is always a misunderstanding with the mobility concept:
Vauban is not carfree, only "car-reduced" or "inside-parking-place-free".
It`s possible to live there for both carfree people and car-owners side by
side, in the same street. I heard, ~55% of all households in the area have
All streets are free to drive through with cars.
But parking is allowed only in the main street ("Vaubanallee") through the
quarter. This Vaubanallee has parking place management, so parking there is
just for visitors.
Parking in the small streets around (several "Wohnstrassen") is only for
deliveries (for a few minutes), so car owners can park only in two garages
at the edge of the area.
One design problem is: those Wohnstrassen are NOT so narrow as mentioned in
the article. They are wide enough that two cars can pass. That leads to the
misuse of the concept, sometimes people park their car in the street. In the
beginning, the initiators demanded only 3 or 3.5 meters (so narrow, that a
parked car would block the street), but unfortunately the city fixed the
>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.
[Markus]: In Germany it`s mandatory to use bikepaths (beside the street)
only if there is a traffic sign that says you have to use this bikepath. And
if the bikepath is not wide enough (min. 1.5 meters) or in a bad condition
one can ignore the sign and ride on the street. Bikelanes (on the street)
are only on bigger streets. So in 98% you drive on a street, because we are
not in the Nether-wonder-lands with bikepaths and -lanes allover the country
> 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.
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?
[Markus]: I don`t know if the Copenhagen BikeSharing model is still working
(but I guess it does). And there are a lot of those public bike systems in
Europe. German Railways runs it in several big cities and plans to expand it
in more (www.callabike.de, with engl. summary); Vienna has it
(www.citybikewien.at, this seems to be the best, I heard); Bruxelles has it
now (www.cyclocity.be), ...
> 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
All sounds good but how much is wishful thinking?
[Markus]: Several cities are planning now sometimes with this small
homeowner cooperatives (eg Tuebingen, Hamburg, Leipzig).
But Vauban`s concept as a whole is still very singularily.
At the moment, only in Cologne is larger carfree development with ~400
residential units under construction (first residents move in, brief info
and links in www.autofrei-wohnen.de/InitiativenD.html#Koeln-Nippes).
P.S.: "With a quarter of its people voting for the Green Party":
Usually the Greens get there in the Vauban district 70-90% (national
election 2002: 69% / election for city mayor 2002: 93%).
The Vauban atmosphere is peaceful and relaxed. And children and bycicles
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