ECOCITY Tübingen

The university town of Tübingen is located in south-western Germany faces a high demand for housing. An additional need for 6,000 dwellings by 2010 is predicted. At the same time, the settlement area in the region of Tübingen has grown enormously and one of the main aims is to develop a strategy for resolving this conflict between the need for new settlement areas and minimisation of land consumption and protection of surrounding environments (

The overall aim in Tübingen was to integrate the area’s urban character, including mixed-use, high-density and car-reducing transport concepts, with transit-orientation and advanced landscape, and water and energy concepts in order to create a new type of urban development.
A comprehensive citizen participation process began with a community planning conference before the design process commenced and resulted in vision plans and consensus points. This was the basis for the development (

Area development
The ECOCITY site in Tübingen-Derendingen encompasses three different areas: a brownfield area, a densification area and a greenfield area.
The concepts for the three areas vary: a dense and mixed-use building structure is planned in one area. In another area, the new quarter will be connected with the old village. A landscape sensitive housing scheme, oriented to maximise solar gains, completes a quarter at the western edge. The brownfield area is planned as a compact, high-density, mixed-use and commercial structure, with some existing buildings being maintained and the uncovering of a stream

Public space
Public spaces have been developed especially for the demands of pedestrians and cyclists.


To minimise the use of motorised transport, the concept focused on public transport, cycling and walking facilities and a sound mix of land use (housing, retail and services). The backbone of the transport concept is the development of a light rail line on existing railway track. The concept also supports the further development of bus services.

Depending on the characteristics of the different planning areas and their location within the existing urban structure, traffic calming, car-reduction or car-free solutions are implemented.
The main elements of the car-free neighbourhood are the minimisation of car-ownership by residents, a reduced supply of parking places and their location at a distance from the residential units which is similar to the distance from public transport stops. This infrastructure is supported by a range of different mobility services (delivery services, car club, good public transport information, reduced-cost season tickets, etc.). The car-reduced neighbourhoods offer slightly more parking spaces and the possibility to drive in and through the area, supported by a somewhat reduced service concept, while traffic calming concepts focus on speed reduction and more attractive streetscapes without restrictions on car ownership or parking spaces (


An energy masterplan was developed, featuring an optimised urban structure bringing together south-facing buildings and energy-saving compactness, a high building standard, including a passive-house development, and a high level of efficiency for systems such as mechanical ventilation and natural ventilation. The remaining energy demand will be covered by supply concepts with large proportions of renewable energies.


A sustainable water concept supporting attractive public spaces and taking account of the hydro-geological sensitivity of the greenfield area has been developed. The premise of this concept is to limit rainwater run-off to a level similar to that of an unsealed area, working towards a groundwater neutral city quarter (

Consumption + Lifestyle

Mixed-use concepts was a major goal in the socio-economic field. Differentiated profiles have been developed for the individual areas for mixed use with different qualities, including several residential housing typologies and facilities for elderly people, mixed tenure as well as special options for commercial uses.
A city farm on the northern edge of the area produces organic food in the adjacent green zone.


– Eco-city plattform:
Joachim Eble – Architektur

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