Going Green…

German City Announces Bold 20-Year Plan to Go Car Free

By Daniel Zeevi | Jan 14, 2014

Could you imagine living in a city with no cars? That is exactly what Hamburg, the second-largest city in Germany, has envisioned will take place in 20 years! The Hamburg ‘Green Network Plan’ is to connect the entire city and suburbs through green pedestrian, bicycle routes and public transportation-only infrastructure to eliminate the need for polluting automobiles.

The plan runs rather contrary to Germany’s famous history with the automobile. Manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes and Audi currently fly the flag for the German motoring industry but it appears their products will be surplus to requirements in Hamburg in the near future.

This bold plan will of course greatly reduce accidents on the road, too, and goes well beyond what any other metropolis has ever dared. The project would look to extend the natural parks, playgrounds and other greenery that already make up 40% of the city. The plan is to connect these areas with cycle routes and walkways, enabling people to explore most of the city without the need for a car.

Speaking to The Guardian, city spokesman Angelika Fritsch said:

Other cities, including London, have green rings, but the green network will be unique in covering an area from the outskirts to the city centre. In 15 to 20 years you’ll be able to explore the city exclusively on bike and foot.

Along with the development of these car-free zones, the city will also construct more green spaces to help absorb CO2 and regulate the city’s climate.

Hamburg is looking to address the potential dangers of climate change after observing a 10-degree Celsius rise in temperature over the last 50 years. What’s worse, at this pace temperatures are expected to jump another dramatic 30 degrees by 2100. At the same time, the city planners noted that this plan goes beyond environmental concerns and is really a vision for how to live in harmony with our planet.

They said:

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, [reducing] the need to take the car for weekend outings outside the city.