Vauban – Freiburg

A street in Vauban, picture with friendly permission from

A street in Vauban, picture with friendly permission from

Vauban is a neighborhood of 5000 inhabitants and 600 jobs 4km to the south of the town center in Freiburg, Germany. It was built as “a sustainable model district”. Construction was begun in the mid-1990s, and finished in 2006.

A vision for the development of the Vauban district with the following goals:
A transportation concept encouraging car-free living and placing restrictions on private automobile ownership, the design of a “neighborhood of short trips”, or high density, an ecologically-friendly district heating system with renewable energy sources, a mix of social classes, priority for private developers and co-ops over corporate investors.


Planning processes
In 1994, the the “Forum Vauban” was founded who lobbied the City with their vision for a sustainable neighborhood. In 1995, the City named Forum Vauban as the official body for an “Expanded Public Participation” (Erweiterte Burgerbeteiligung) process, which was to be used in the development of the Vauban district master plan. Under the expanded public participation model, the City worked closely with residents to ensure that community desires were represented in the project.

The German government nominated the Vauban as the nation’s contribution to the UN Habitat II housing conference in 1996 due to its cooperative planning process between the City and residents. The Forum Vauban and the expanded public participation model showed that development works best when community involvement is included from the planning phase to the implementation phase (

All houses are built at least with improved low energy standard (65 kWh/m2a, calculated similar to the Swiss SIA 380/1 standard) plus at least 100 units with “passive house” (15 kWh/m2a) or “plus energy” standard (houses which produce more energy than they need) (

Public Space
Every street in the Quartier Vauban except for the main street is a Spielstrasse. The German Spielstrasse is derived from the Dutch Woonerf concept where streets are designed as a shared space for all users. (

An ecological traffic / mobility concept is implemented with a reduced number of private cars to be parked in the periphery, good public transport, a convenient car sharing system and a higher quality of living.
Vauban is connected to the town center by a tramway. Most streets are pedestrian friendly and suitable for kids to play, and have a 5km/hour speed limit.
– Banned parking on private property. Residents with cars would be required to park them in garages at the edge of the neighborhood. Today, on-street parking is only allowed on the main street of the Quartier Vauban.
30 km/h Zone
– Play Street (Spielstrasse)
– Bicycle Street (Fahrradstrasse) – Because the Quartier Vauban was developed as a “neighborhood of short trips”, the bicycle plays a part in the everyday life of most residents.
– Pedestrian Paths – The Quartier Vauban contains many pedestrian-only paths linking residents to nature, retail districts and public transportation. (

A highly efficient co-generation plant (CHP) operating on wood-chips is operating since 2002 and connected to the district’s heating grid. Solar collectors (about 450 m2 until 2000) and photovoltaics (about 1200 m2 until 2000) are common “ornaments” on the district’s roofs making Vauban one of the biggest European solar districts. (

– Streets and other public spaces are places for social interaction and playground for kids.
– A far-reaching participation and the social work organized by Forum Vauban gives voice to the people’s needs and supports their initiatives, participation structure including meetings, workshops, a three-monthly district news magazine, publications on special issues and internet-presentations.
– A mix of social classes, extended citizen participation and sensitively balanced community life.


– Co-operative food store,
– Farmer’s market initiative (



Architectural journals
– Architecture intérieure-Créé, 2002, n.303, p.64-69
– Deutsche Bauzeitung, 2000 Feb., v.134, n.2, p.80-87
– Baumeister 2005 vol 102, no.10 p. 37-78
– Town & country planning, vol. 76, no. 1, 2007 Jan., p. 6-7
– Town & country planning, vol. 76, no. 10, 2007 Oct., 336-339

%d bloggers like this: