Charley Cameron

Hamburg Announces Plans to Become a Car-Free City Within 20 Years

by , 01/12/14

Hamburg, Germany, Green Network, car-free, cycle path, urban planning, urban parks, Angelika Fritsch, Grünes Netz, climate change, flooding, sea level rise, resilient designHamburg photo via Shutterstock

Hamburg is currently working on a plan that would eliminate the need for cars within the next 15-20 years, making the city a greener, healthier and more pleasant place to live. The city’s proposed Grünes Netz, or “Green Network” will create pedestrian and cycle paths to connect the city’s existing, substantial green spaces, and provide safe, car-free commuter routes for all residents.

Hamburg, Germany, Green Network, car-free, cycle path, urban planning, urban parks

Hamburg’s Green Network will be constructed over the next 15-20 years, and it will create car-free paths between all major parks, playgrounds, community gardens, and cemeteries in Hamburg. The resulting network will cover 40% of Germany’s second-largest city, and it should enable commuters and tourists alike to navigate the once-car-dependent city entirely by bicycle and on foot.

The goals of the Green Network are multiple. On one end, Hamburg recognizes the need to change in the face of global warming; in the past 60 years they city’s median temperature has increased by 1.2 degrees Celsius to 9 degrees Celsius, and sea levels have risen by 20 centimeters—and they’re expected to increase another 30 centimeters by 2100. While a car-free city will undoubtedly do much to lower C02 emissions, the expanded green spaces that will fall along the new, green paths will also help to alleviate flooding in the event of heavy rainfall or superstorms.

Additionally, such a network will contribute to the overall health of the city and its inhabitants. The Guardian explained that Hamburg “envisions a network that doesn’t just help residents get from point A to point B in a sustainable fashion,” with city spokesperson Angelika Fritsch adding “It will offer people opportunities to hike, swim, do water sports, enjoy picnics and restaurants, experience calm and watch nature and wildlife right in the city. That reduces the need to take the car for weekend outings outside the city.”

Hamburg’s Green Network is part of a growing trend, particularly within Europe, to create comprehensive cycle networks that encompass not only city centers and ring-roads, but that also connect the city with the suburbs. Copenhagen has undertaken perhaps the most ambitious of these plans with the construction of 26 bicycle “superhighways,” that extend out from the city center as part of the city’s goal to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Via ArchDaily

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2 Comments

  1. jfoss January 12, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    hmmm, this seems to be a very misleading title you posted… spending about 10 seconds digging into this story, it was made very clear that Hamburg isn’t planning on being entirely car-free anytime soon… it rather wants to ‘eliminate the need for cars over the next 20 years’. A considerable difference. I’ve already seen a number of people re-post this with excitement, but this proclamation is really nothing special… many cities around the world have similar aims.

  2. Hiroshi Casinay January 12, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    This is a great pioneering undertaking.

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