Encouraging car-free living in the suburbs Vauban, Germany


Solar roofs and productive landscaping around homes in Vauban, Germany. Photo: Arnold Plesse


“If you yearn to lower your carbon footprint and improve your quality of lifeeven in suburbiathere’s a lot to be learned here,” says Plan Charlotte author Martin Zimmerman of Vauban, Germany. Vauban, a neighborhood south of Friberg, was built in 2000 as a sustainable model district that “embarked on a radical shift in self-identity and emerged with a mission to rebrand itself.”

Vauban boasts solar panels, excellent bike infrastructure, narrow streets, an abundance of children everywhere, and limited vehicular access on streets. The key is Vauban’s overall footprint encouraging car-free living: the general rule of thumb is that no resident should be more than approximately a quarter mile from a tram stop. Additionally, as many as 60% of daily shopping and commuting trips are made on a bicycle.

For more information about Vauban, see: An almost car-free suburb, where kids roam free, Vauban city site, The World’s Most Successful Model for Sustainable Urban Development?