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Article: Life in Vauban

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  • rauch@mit.edu
    I translated this from an article that appeared in the Badische Zeitung, a newspaper in southwest Germany. A neighborhood grows together Vauban offers more
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 23, 2001
      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
      one another.

      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
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