A sustainable town, Vauban, Germany | leading the world in plus-energy green buildings


Vauban, Germany is a sustainable town for every other city in the world to emulate. Vauban is a “zero-emission” district in Freiburg, Germany. Energy for buildings in Vauban is mostly sourced from rooftop solar panels on residents’ homes, co-op buildings, and municipal buildings. Energy for Vauban is also supplied by a municipal bio-natural gas cogeneration plant

Vauban Freiburg Germany| Green City Times
Vauban, Germany

Urban Planning in Vauban

The urban planning strategies of “filtered permeability” and “fused grid” were implemented in the design of the municipality of Vauban; referring to a town urban planning design of connected streets throughout the town, as well as plenty of pedestrian and bike paths. Urban planning created a city layout in Vauban which lends itself to cycling as the primary mode of transit.

Vauban Germany| Green City Times
Vauban, Freiburg, Germany
urban plan of Vauban, Germany
urban planning layout of the city district of Vauban, in Frieburg, Germany

The town of Vauban is virtually absent of all GHG emission producing sources. Vauban is a “zero-emission” district in Freiburg, Germany. Vauban is not completely carbon neutral, as cars are actually allowed, if you pay at least $23,000 USD for a parking spot on the outskirts of town. Thus, the majority of residents don’t own a car, choosing instead to use the tram, cycle or simply walk. Most streets don’t even have parking spaces.

The radical culture of Vauban has roots in its dramatic history. Ironically, Vauban was a military town through WWII and into the early 90’s. When the military left, the vacant buildings were inhabited by squatters. These vagabonds eventually organized Forum Vauban, organizing a revolutionary eco-community. Today, Vauban is modern, beautiful and represents the very cutting edge of sustainable living.

Careful urban planning helped to create a city layout which lends itself to cycling as the primary mode of transit. The terms “filtered permeability” and ”fused grid” refer to a plan that ultimately means connected streets throughout the town, as well as plenty of pedestrian and bike paths. Residents primarily live in co-op buildings, such as the "solar ship", a large area of co-op buildings that run strictly on renewable energy.

Solar ship Vauban Freiburg Germany| Green City Times
Solar ship- Vauban, Freiburg, Germany

Similar to Vauban, Germany (but in a variety of unique ways), these world cities are also taking the lead on climate action through novel urban planning strategies:

Paris - Curbing Auto Emissions for Cleaner Air

Olso - Climate Goals: Is Oslo Leading the Way?

San Diego - Profiles in Sustainable Cities

(and please also see the Green City Times article on Desalination for information about the largest desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere; in Carlsbad, San Diego)

Chicago - A Sustainable City

Austin, Texas


And, here are the rankings for Green City Times top 10 greenest cities in the world>>>


The TOP 10 greenest cities in the world (as determined by Green City Times):

  1. Reykjavik, Iceland  
  2. Vaxjo, Sweden  
  3. Freiburg, Germany 
  4. Vancouver, Canada  
  5. Copenhagen, Denmark  
  6. London, UK 
  7. Curitiba, Brazil 
  8. Portland, Oregon, US 
  9. San Diego, California, US 
  10. Oslo, Norway 

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