Twelve years ago my college roommate Lisa and I spent a summer in the gorgeous Black Forest town of Freiburg. Here we shared a tiny dorm room while we studied German at a local language school. We got around the town and the entire Black Forest mainly by our own two feet, as well as by local tram, bus and train. I lost a lot of weight that summer and felt great. I took my husband Steve back there a few years ago for a vacation and together we hiked Black Forest trails, took local busses and trains and generally loved the car-free existence.
Now there’s a suburb of Freiburg that really is 100% car-free. Vauban was built in 2006 and cars are not allowed to even enter the community. If a resident wants to own a car, he or she certainly can at the cost of $40,000 for a parking space at the edge of the development. 70% of residents don’t own a car at all. Everyone gets around instead by foot, bike and the local city tram that passes right through the suburb. It makes for a quiet, peaceful simpler life. By way of definition cars are practically required for most of the world’s city suburbs. Vauban and communities like it are showing that cars are not required if good planning is done. Vauban, do you have room for one more? Read more in the New York Times.