I translated this from an article that appeared in the Badische Zeitung, a newspaper in southwest Germany.
A neighborhood grows together
Vauban offers more than cranes and shovels. "Really exciting" is how
Gudrun Nack, who has lived here for seven years, finds it. She has
been following the development of the new neighborhood since its
beginning: "Even if you go away only for a month, you find that
everything's changed again." Andreas Delleske, another Vauban
resident, agrees: "The people here are wonderful." He finds that the
special thing about Vauban is that one can take matters into one's
own hands and accomplish something.
Working Groups and other groups meet, plan, form and execute their
ideas. And gradually, something like a "feeling of togetherness" is
emerging, according to one resident. Martina Heuer of "Forum Vauban"
believes that nervousness about contact can be reduced: "Vauban is
growing together." Her colleague Patricia DeSantiago-Blum adds: "It's
a long process, but we're getting there." Problematic for many is the
fact that people who are very different from each other live next to
Since the first beginnings, people from "Susi" (Self-organized
Independent Neighborhood Initiative) have lived in the neighborhood.
[Translator's note: Susi is a students' organization from the
University of Freiburg that converted some of the existing barracks
on the Vauban site to dormitories.] "Many think the Susi people are
left-wing radicals, but that's not true," says Delleske. But the
divisions are gradually disappearing, the representatives of Forum
Vauban say. Intended to contribute to this was a weekend festival
sponsored by Forum Vauban. Delicious food and drink was offered, and
the many Working Groups introduced themselves. "We wanted to get out
of the office," said DeSantiago-Blum. The aim was to "integrate
everyone." Martina Heuer believes that "it's getting a lot better. If
you plan something together, you get to know each other better."
For young mothers, another important method of integration are
schools and nursery schools. There they meet new people "from the
other side of Vauban." Karen Meimberg has been living in the new
neighborhood for one year. She made contacts quickly, "through the
Baugruppen [Building Groups] and Working Groups". Right now, many
children live in Vauban. "The school is bursting at the seams",
reports Beate Andy, who has been in Vauban since 1993. She believes
this problem must be solved, and that there are not enough activities
for older children. Eleven-year-old Laura agrees. She and her friends
like living in the neighborhood, but "there's not enough going on for
us." Thirteen-year-old Elena complains that "in the evening we have
to be quiet because of all the little kids."
A central meeting point in the neighborhood is very important to many
residents. "We want to turn 'Haus 37' into a cultural center," says
Fabian Sprenger of Forum Vauban. He says that a day-care center,
neighborhood offices, churches, and several working groups should all
have room there, and that residents are waiting with anticipation for
the city's concept for the center. And Jens Terjung, deacon of the
Lutheran parish in Vauban, places great importance on a citizens'
center. Ecumenical church services, a Working Group for art, many
activities for children - Vauban offers more than construction sites,
dirt and noise. That was clear at the neighborhood festival. People
look to the future with optimism, and new tasks. Measures for social
integration, a place for young adults, and especially the citizens'
center "Haus 37" - all these the citizens want to accomplish. So
cranes, bulldozers and shovels will not be disappearing from the
neighborhood so soon.
German original: http://www.vauban.de/forum/viewto