A New Suburb Without Cars

Vauban, Germany is a new suburb that is part of the 'smart planning movement'. It is car-free, i.e. the streets are car-free, while car ownership is allowed but restricted to two garages, and the cost unbundled. Only 30% of families own cars.
May 12, 2009, 2pm PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"Street parking, driveways and home garages are generally forbidden in this experimental new district on the outskirts of Freiburg, near the French and Swiss borders. Vauban's streets are completely "car-free"...

Vauban, completed in 2006, is an example of a growing trend in Europe, the United States and elsewhere to separate suburban life from auto use, as a component of a movement called "smart planning."

Car ownership is allowed, but there are only two places to park - large garages at the edge of the development, where a car-owner buys a space, for $40,000, along with a home.

As a result, 70 percent of Vauban's families do not own cars, and 57 percent sold a car to move here."

Automobiles are the linchpin of suburbs, where middle-class families from Chicago to Shanghai tend to make their homes. And that, experts say, is a huge impediment to current efforts to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes, and thus to reduce global warming.

Passenger cars are responsible for 12 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Europe - a proportion that is growing, according to the European Environment Agency - and up to 50 percent in some car-intensive areas in the United States."

Thanks to Gladwyn d'Souza?

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Published on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 in The New York Times - Environment
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