Thursday, May 13, 2010


First out of four best examples of sustainable neighbourhood (in the world?); the district of Vauban in Freiburg, Germany. Next post is Französisches Viertel (French Quarter) in German Tübingen and then two exampes from Sweden; Hammarby Sjöstad in Stockholm and Western Harbour in Malmö

Freiburg in South-West Germany is called one of the greenest cities in the world. Not only because of its surroundings and closeness to Black Forest but because of its green policy, the political perspective.

The green movement in the city began over 30 years ago with the succesful campaign against the proposed nuclear power plant an nearby Whyl. After the Chenobyl disaster 1986 the municipalty desided to abdon nuclear power. Same year, Freiburg became on of the first cities in Germany to establish an Environmental Protection Office. Freiburg is now famous for the large investment in solar energy, public transportation and high use of bicycles. But in Freiburg its more; "citizens of Freiburg really do identify themselves with this policy".

PROJECT APPEARANCE DESCRIPTION; Vauban, a neighbourhood project, 38 hectares big, with 5000 inhabitans and 600 jobs, is one of the best examples of how to build urban spaces with ecological awarness. The neighbourhood is traffic-calmed, with majority of households not owning a car. Two large garages are situated in both ends. Low energy building is obligatory; zero-energy or energy-plus buildings are standard for the most. Between the housing the rows of old trees have been preserved as much as possible. Flat-roof with vegetation, store rainwater which is reused. Schools, kindergarten, youth facilities, civic meeting places, market place, restaurangs and cafeés as well as spaces for recreation and play can be found here. A tramline goes to and from the city center, rail covered with grass to reduce the sound. Single houses are promitted which leads to a compact urban building structure. The overall look is 2-4 stores high houses which are very diverse; every house have its own appairience, with a lot of green in the between but as well as at, over and around the houses.
Strategies; Several different ways to enter the area; the Genova Housing Association originated from Forum Vauban and was founded in 1997 to allow people with low incomes to be part of the Vauban project, the Students' Union, SUSI created dormitories with rooms for 600 students in six old barracks and three new buildings and the Buergerbau (Citizens' Building Stock Corporation) specialises in co-ordinating the building cooperatives (Baugruppen) as well as private developers. 15 baugruppen (several households get together, decide on a piece of land, plan a building and hire an architect and building team, thus saving money and time), co-building and co-housing were formed, each consist 5-15 families. To organise the whole, organisation Forum Vauban, founded in 1995 to support the planning and building process. Their maninly activties are;
  • Supporting the implementation of community-based building projects such as "Baugruppen" (groups of building owners), co-housing and co-operative building.
  • Realisation of a sustainable model district, especially in the fields of traffic and energy.
  • Coordination of the social work and implementation of a neighbourhood center
Participation: Bottom up
Participants: far-reaching citizen participation initiates model projects which go beyond sustainable measures set by a city.
Structure: forum of inhabitants (Forum Vauban e.V.), city council working group Vauban, building administration/project group Vauban
Financing: urban developing measures; provincial revitalisation programme Baden-Württemberg, model projects funded, amongst others, by the EU (LIFE programme) and the German Federal Foundation for the Environment, private investors

Read more;
Sustainable Urban District Freiburg-Vauban
Freiburg Green City

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