Vauban is one of the earliest continental eco-districts, which developed in the 1990s and early 2000s into one of the most ambitious housing project on the continent. Vauban was originally a response to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power disaster in 1986, with its early stages of creation driven by a community of environmentalists working to develop sustainable approaches to living.
Today Vauban, on the site of a one time French military barracks at the edge of South West city, Freiburg, is one of Germany’s prime examples of a leading edge eco-district and is known across the housing and planning world. With over 5000 residents, Vauban is one of the few eco-districts which demonstrates, showcases and provides an exemplar of large-scale low energy living, while retaining a strong community ethos. The main central part of the eco-district, with a tram line running down its central spine, is car-free, with interlinking pedestrian and cycle paths connecting much of the housing, significant tree cover, and natural features (including boulders and large stones) acting as nature playgrounds for children, and gardening areas for adults. Schools, health-centres, whole and organic food stores are part of the wider eco-district.
Vauban is a pioneering example of how eco-district and community can be co-created for the ecological future.