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Re: Vauban-links / [carfree_cities] Re: article on Vauban, Freiburg in Christian Science Monitor

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  • Markus Heller
    Hi Bill, I write in your text Markus Heller http://www.autofrei-wohnen.de/ ... From: willtell9z To:
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 21, 2006
      Hi Bill,
      I write in your text
      Markus Heller

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "willtell9z" <willtell9z@...>
      To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Thursday, December 21, 2006 1:33 PM
      Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: article on Vauban, Freiburg in Christian
      Science Monitor

      --- 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.

      [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"):
      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
      no car.
      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
      wider solution.

      >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.

      Anyone know where to see plans and images?

      a - not very good - map of the area is here:

      a lot of pictures are here:
      http://www.vauban.de/rundgang/rundgang2.html > 6
      but those picture are not very new. Now most parts of Vauban are finished.

      And you find some info in english at

      More in engl. here: www.forum-vauban.de/overview.shtml

      the 3 main links about Vauban are:
      - www.vauban.de
      - www.forum-vauban.de/index-en.shtml
      - www.quartier-vauban.de

      more links here (a few in engl.):

      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
      >German cities."

      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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