Freiburg’s eco-friendly district offers model for urban development
Some cities shine at recycling. Others at energy efficiency. Or walkability. But the Vauban district of Freiburg in southern Germany does it all well, according to a Sustainable Cities Collective post by special consultant David Thorpe.
As Thorpe explains, the area takes a holistic approach to eco-friendly living. Decisions about Vauban have long been guided by citizen activism and input. The result: designs that emphasize minimal environmental impact. Pedestrian and cycling paths form the heart of the transit network. Cars are discouraged with limited parking and distant lots. Homes, schools, businesses and shops are always located within a short distance of tram stops.
Each building must comply with rigorous energy-consumption standards and every structure is required to have solar panels. Since its formation in 2000, Vauban has experienced dramatic declines in energy use, waste and emissions. That success makes the district a model for “sustainable” urban development elsewhere, Thorpe writes.