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Freiburg, Germany
Brown Bag Lunch Series
November 9, 2010

Presentation (file size 5.4 M)

Wulf Daseking, Director, Department for Urban Planning, Freiburg, Germany *

Eco City development has been regaining support across the world in counteracting rapid urbanization and climate change in the 21st century. Eco2 Cities suggests that urban functions and forms are critical elements that shape sustainable development. One of the solutions provided for this is the compact city development which involves efficient energy and resource use while providing an economical investment.

The City of Freiburg, Germany, is renowned as the worlds’ top Eco-city with their compact and sustainable city development. Since the 1970s, the City has developed a reputation as Germany's ecological capital. By 1986, the City had a vision for a sustainable city reliant on an ecologically-oriented energy supply. Today, its solar, energy efficiency and transport programs are among the best in the world. Under such a development strategy, Freiburg experienced a reduction of CO2 emissions by more than 10% per capita, while having a 100% increase in public transport use over the last 10 years. Currently, more than 35% of residents choose to live without a car. The city is also famous for green growth.

Modern planning toward sustainability triggered in 1996 when the City passed a resolution, the Climate Protection Concept, to reduce CO2 emissions to 25% below the 1992 level by 2010. Since then, the City focuses on renovating energy and transport sectors; by introducing energy-efficient buildings, businesses and industry operations and also adopting car-free initiatives. Energy-efficient buildings in Freiburg, for an example, have certain limits on waste production per year. Solar panels on roofs, on the other hand, generate income. People are also promoted to use bicycles and decline automobile use. Residents in Freiburg therefore cycle and recycle. Symbiosis – or the co-generation – was another key aspect in succeeding the reduction of City's CO2 emissions. Currently, almost 50% of the City's electricity is supplied through a CHP steam and gas plant called Rhodia. Heat from the plant is used for industrial purposes for the chemical industry.

Freiburg has succeeded becoming a sustainable city by adopting regulation, incentives, design, long-term commitment and policy reform. Their experience speaks for the opportunity of sustainable growth with measures including effective energy use and non-auto dependency. In 1992, the City took first place in a contest selecting the most "ecological and environmental capital in Germany" (sponsored by the National ministry of Environment). Since then, they are winning many awards as an environmentally friendly and sustainable city.

*Wulf Daseking has been the Director of the City Planning Office in Freiburg, Germany, since 1984. As the City’s head planner, Dasken has involved in many initiatives that resulted in Freiburg’s current status as Germany’s ecological capital. At Freiburg, he is responsible for urban development, land development, landscape planning, master plan development and individual projects. He is further involved in Rieselfeld/Vauban inner city planning, town quarter market places concept, citizen participation, "Social City" and public spaces. Daseking is also a Professor at the University of Freiburg, and holds a Degree in Architecture and Urban Planning from the Technical University of Hannover. He grew up in the historic city center of Goslar, northern Germany.

Last updated: April 11, 2011

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