Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Car-Free Germany

Martin Sprecht for The New York Times

I saw an article in The New York Times about this unique suburb in Germany that prohibits cars on its streets. There is a tram that runs through the community's main thoroughfare and there are two garages for resident's personal cars and the local car share program. Otherwise, everyone walks or rides a bike. It sounds like these folks are in the vanguard of environmentalists, but the newspaper says that many them moved there for a much different reason.
"Many people move to Vauban not for environmental reasons, but because they feel that a car-free environment is far better for children. Indeed, children are everywhere! With no cars on the streets, many residents call Vauban a children's paradise, where youngsters wander from a young age in safety. Even some residents who say they miss the convenience of a car at their doorstep have concluded that it is worth the tradeoff."
Well--whatever their reasons--good for them. Apparently, a real estate development company is planning a similar community in Hayward, CA. I wish them good luck in finding enough residents for that project.

8 comments :

Trisha said...

Found that story SO interesting. When I lived in France, Freiburg was the town I went to whenever I visited Germany. Next time I go to see friends, I'll have to check out that suburb!

2whls3spds said...

Germany has an excellent mass transit infrastructure to support such a project. We have a long ways to go...

There are some cities where it would probably work in the US.

Aaron

spiderleggreen said...

You even used the same picture. Smart! ;)

le homme au velo said...

I was looking at this Item on another Blog a few minutes ago ( Cycling is good for you ,Annas Blog in Vienna) and it shows various Videos about the Green Party and also Vauban.

The best thing about no Cars is also No Pollution from Carburants ,Petrol /Gas very Dangerous especially for young Children all that Lead and other Stuff.

On the Dutch Fietsberaad Cycle Union Site they also have an Item about an Austrian Appartement Estate with the same Theme only a tiny Proportion of Cars allowed ,with Huge amount of Parking for Bicycles and also Bike Workshops.

I think it is a Great Idea, I would like to see it Happening in Car Centric Ireland.

Bike by the Sea said...

Streets for kids! :)

Freiburg has a large car-free downtown too. Lots of bikes!

She Rides a Bike said...

I read this article too. Sounds like my kind of neighborhood. Dense, walkable, bike accommodating. Some people say American won't live in these kinds of developments. I say, offer them and they will.

m e l i g r o s a said...

yay go hayward, that around here in the bay area :D
thatd be pretty cool!

Filigree said...

The Austrian government announced several days ago that they are building a Bike City outside of Vienna, which sounds similar to what you describe. It will be a self-sufficient car-free neighborhood consisting of residential areas, schools, public spaces, and shopping areas. The only vehicles allowed will be emergency services. It is possible that we will see initiatives like this all across the EU in the coming years.