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Location Freiburg, Germany

The German city of Freiburg is known for its high standard of living and advanced environmental practices.[1] Freiburg is also known as an "eco-city". The newly built neighbourhoods of Vauban and Rieselfeld were developed and built according to the idea of sustainability. The citizens of Freiburg are known in Germany for their love of cycling and recycling.[2]

Networks and sustainability initiatives[edit | edit source]

Cycling activism[edit | edit source]

Open spaces[edit | edit source]

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Freiburg im Breisgau's parks, green spaces, recreational facilities, playgrounds, roadside greeneries and the Mundenhof add up to an area of 397 ha (3.97 km2), which corresponds to 18.05 m2 of green space per Freiburg citizen. On average, major cities in Baden-Württemberg have 22.66 m2 green space/citizen. However, there is an area of 2600 ha (26 km2) of forest in the close proximity of Freiburg as well as additional recreational area like the Rieselfeld district (a former sewage farm). The majority of the green spaces came into existence from the 1960s on.

Food activism[edit | edit source]

At the centre of the old city is the Münsterplatz or Cathedral Square, Freiburg's largest square. A farmers market is held here every day except Sundays.[3]

Sustainable transport activism[edit | edit source]

Freiburg has an extensive pedestrian zone in the city center where no automobiles are allowed. Freiburg also has an excellent public transport system, operated by the city-owned VAG Freiburg. This is anchored by the Freiburg tramway network, together with feeder buses.[4]

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Within Vauban, transport is primarily by foot or bicycle: according to Scheurer (2001), 38–73% of movements were performed by walking or cycling, as opposed to 5–16% by car. Scheurer (2001) found that cycling was the main mode of transport for most trips and most activities, including commuting and shopping. The development is connected to Freiburg city centre by a tramway and is laid out linearly along the tracks, such that all homes are within easy walking distance from a tram stop. In 2006, just after the tram network had been extended, 70% of local public transport trips were made by tram, and 30% by bus. The level of car ownership has fallen over time: "Scheurer (2001) and Nobis (2003) found that just over half of households owned a car" (Scheurer: 54%; Nobis: "over 40%" carfree), but according to Melia et al. (2010), "parking levels suggest a substantial majority of households do not own cars there today." As of 2009, around 70% of the households had chosen to live without a private car.

The preference for walking and cycling can be partly attributed to the layout of the district. Building on previous experience, the plan departs from the simple inherited grid and creates a network, which incorporates the principle of “filtered permeability”. It means that the network geometry favours the active modes of transport and, selectively, “filters out” the car. This is accomplished by reducing the number of streets that run through the neighbourhood. Instead, most local streets are crescents and cul-de-sacs (see drawing). While they are discontinuous for cars, they connect to a network of pedestrian and bike paths, which permeate the entire neighbourhood. In addition, these paths go through or past open spaces, adding to the enjoyment of the trip. The logic of filtering a mode of transport is fully expressed in a new comprehensive model for laying out neighbourhoods and districts – the Fused Grid.

Most of Vauban's residential streets are described as stellplatzfrei – literally "free from parking spaces". Vehicles are allowed down these streets at walking pace to pick up and deliver but not to park, although there are some infractions as the system depends essentially on social consensus – there are few official controls. Each year, households are required to sign a declaration stating either that they do not own a car, or that they do, in which case they must buy a space in one of the multi-storey car parks on the periphery, at a one-off cost of €17,500 plus a monthly service fee (in 2006). According to Melia (2006), "the citywide car sharing club has the greatest concentration of its 2,500 members in Vauban – at least ten of its cars are stationed around the district."

Urban sustainability[edit | edit source]

In June 1995, the Freiburg city council adopted a resolution that it would permit construction only of "low-energy buildings" on municipal land, and all new buildings must comply with certain "low energy" specifications. Low-energy housing uses solar power passively as well as actively. In addition to solar panels and collectors on the roof, providing electricity and hot water, many passive features use the sun's energy to regulate the temperature of the rooms.[5]

In 2010, Freiburg was voted as The Academy of Urbanism's European City of the Year in recognition of the exemplary sustainable urbanism it has implemented over the past several decades.[6]

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Vauban (German pronunciation: [voˈbãː]) is a neighbourhood (Stadtteil) to the south of the town centre in Freiburg, Germany. It was built as "a sustainable model district" on the site of a former French military base named after Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, the 17th century French Marshal who built fortifications in Freiburg while the region was under French rule. Construction began in 1998, and the first two residents arrived in 2001.

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All houses are built to a low-energy consumption standard, with 100 units designed to the Passivhaus ultra-low energy building standard. Other buildings are heated by a combined heat and power station burning wood chips, while many of the buildings have solar collectors or photovoltaic cells. Perhaps the best example of sustainable building is the Solar Settlement in Vauban, a 59 PlusEnergy home housing community. It is the first housing community worldwide in which all the homes produce a positive energy balance. The solar energy surplus is then sold back into the city's grid for a profit on every home.

News and comment[edit | edit source]


In Freiburg 79 percent of trips taken as a pedestrian, by bike, or by public transport.[7] Aug 20


Freiburg, Germany: is this the greenest city in the world? March 23[8]

External links[edit | edit source]

Greenlivingpedia:Freiburg, article includes a Copyright notice

References[edit | edit source]

FA info icon.svg Angle down icon.svg Page data
Keywords cities, eco-city, european cities
Authors Phil Green
License CC-BY-SA-3.0
Language English (en)
Related 0 subpages, 2 pages link here
Aliases Freiburg
Impact 798 page views
Created March 22, 2014 by Phil Green
Modified November 27, 2023 by Phil Green
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