Today’s Solutions: February 06, 2023

A while back, we shared a story about how in addition to reducing air pollution and making streets safercar-free zones can also help build more connected thriving communities. Well aware of the benefits of designing people- rather than car-friendly neighborhoods, a team of designers recently unveiled plans to develop a sustainable suburb outside Hamburg, Germany, where pedestrians and cyclists take center stage.

“It’s not a car-free neighborhood, but it’s a parking-free street,” says Darius Reznek of Karres en Brands, a Dutch design firm that’s working with Danish firm Adept on the project. “So there will be no cars parked on the street. Basically, we said that we don’t want cars to define the way streets look. We want to give respect to pedestrians and to public space, and not have it kind of cluttered with parking.”

Located on former farmland next to a train station that takes passengers to the center of Hamburg in less than 15 minutes, the suburb will feature 7,000 homes and 5,000 office spaces. In addition to office and living spaces, the neighborhood will have schools, stores, and other useful amenities that residents can walk or cycle to within minutes.

For those who own a car, there will be underground parking garages in the area, reserving ground-level space for other uses, including gyms and indoor farming. However, the distance to the garages will be just far enough that in most cases people would avoid driving. “Even though you’re in a suburb, you have to walk 200 or 300 meters to your car,” says Martin Laursen, founding partner at Adept. “So for everyday things, it’s easier to walk or bike.”

On top of discouraging car use, the neighborhood — which is expected to see its first houses by the end of the decade — will be energy neutral, and when development begins in a few years, buildings will be equipped with the most efficient technology available at the time. A robust system of canals, green roofs, and other green spaces will also help prevent flooding and other climatic risks. What’s more, residents will be able to enjoy designated farming spaces.

Image source: Karres en Brands

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