Year: 1993 - 2006
Design: Building cooperatives, students Union, Genova Housing Association, Forum Vauban, Buergerbau
Location: Vauban, Freiburg; Germany
Planning for the district Vauban in Freiburg started in 1993 and has been completed in 2006. More than 5000 inhabitants and 600 jobs are realized. The main goal of the project was to create a city district in a co-operative and participatory way, meeting ecological, social, economic and cultural requirements.
A major achievement by the City of Freiburg has been to divide land into small plots and allocate it in preference to private builders and Baugruppen (co-housing groups). Although the development plan included some regulations for the design and layout of the homes, a variety of structures exists and builders have had the freedom to design and develop the homes they aspire to. Coherence is provided through the extensive use of ecological measures and the 'car-free' and 'parking-free' concepts of living. The overall costs for buildings are much lower within a cohousing project than with a private developer. This has enabled people on lower incomes to become home owners.
Perhaps the greatest strengths of the Vauban project are the ideas, creativity and commitment of the people involved and their common goal in creating a sustainable and flourishing neighbourhood.
Nearly 50% of Vauban's households are 'car free'. These households are encouraged by good public transport provision, a convenient car sharing system and a higher quality of living. Car-free households save the substantial cost of a parking space in the community car park, as do development companies who put up car-free apartments for rent. Residents who join the car sharing organisation have access to shared cars and receive a one year free pass for all public transport within Freiburg. In practice, some residents have reported problems on the ground with the enforcement of car free living and with visitor parking.
There are over 50 passive houses and at least 100 units with 'plus energy' standard (houses which produce more energy than they need) in Vauban, which is estimated to be one of the largest 'solar districts' in Europe. Solar panels and photovoltaic cells are common 'ornaments' on rooftops across all parts of the development.
A district centre has been created at Vauban with shops, a primary school, kindergartens and public green spaces. Vauban has been designed to create a 'district of short distances' where the schools, farmer's market, businesses, shopping centre, food coop, recreation areas and approximately 600 jobs will be within walking and cycling distance of residents.
Widespread community involvement in the planning and development of the Vauban district has helped it to become a sustainable and flourishing neighbourhood.