Vauban: A sustainable, cycling community

Vauban only allows walking and cycling in residential areas
Vauban only allows walking and cycling in residential areas

Following on from our post on the Dutch “New Town” of Houten, this post looks at an even more ambitious project in the community (with around 5,000 people) of Vauban, located 4kms from the centre of Freiburg.

The community’s streets allow access to cars but there is no parking except on the main road, which has a tram running down the middle for access to Freiburg city centre. The town is long and thin so all residents are a short distance from a tram stop. If a resident wishes to own a car, they must rent a space in a multi storey parking garage on the outskirts at a cost of 17,500 Euro per year.

No cycle paths needed
No cycle paths needed

The latest survey of the community found that 70% of residents are car free and 57% gave up their car on moving to the community. As you can imagine, traffic accidents are virtually unheard of and children are able to roam the streets without restriction.

And if you think it is only small towns that are this ambitious, think again. Hamburg has announced a new Green Networks strategy with the aim of eliminating cars from the city centre by 2034.

A similar such community is planned near Oakland, California called Bayview Quarry Village. There is some pessimism around that project as the auto dependent culture of California means lenders are nervous about the ability of such housing to hold its value.

Meanwhile, NZ is still building auto dependent towns like Marsden City from the ground up with some recreational cycling facilities as green washing. Despite being right next to a railway line, there are of course no passenger services, so people will be firmly entrenched in their SUV lifestyles. We have a long way to go.

Where are the cycle paths promised in the marketing?
Where are the cycle paths promised in the marketing? (Some other images than this show what could be cycle lanes – next to parking).

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