With more and more energy-efficient homes being built and environmentally conscious industry sited in the city, Freiburg, Germany may be one of the greenest cities in the world.
"In Freiburg, passive houses like this are relatively few, but energy-saving houses are the norm. Elsewhere in Germany, the law states that every new house built must waste no more than 75kWh/m2 per year (roughly a quarter of the energy lost from a typical Victorian house in Britain) but the specification in Freiburg is radically lower. "'It used to be 65kWh per year,' says Meinhard, 'but we are now discussing a new Freiburg law of 55, 50 or even 40kWh.'"
"It is part of Freiburg's unrelenting quest to be one of the greenest cities in the world, helped by the (uncomfortable) fact that it was flattened by Allied bombers in the Second World War and rebuilt on enlightened, energy-saving principles. Now, as Gordon Brown announces plans to build 10 new eco towns in Britain - in places such as Oakington in Cambridgeshire, and Long Marston, near Stratford-upon-Avon - perhaps it is time to learn from the city we destroyed."