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The Green Network: How Hamburg could be car-free in 20 years


March 4, 2014

The green network is designed to encourage outdoor activities along with mitigating the impact of climate change and flooding

The green network is designed to encourage outdoor activities along with mitigating the impact of climate change and flooding

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Its hard to imagine a major metropolis devoid of cars in any country, let alone in the home of celebrated brands like Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Germany's affection for all things automotive may be in for a shake up however, with the city of Hamburg setting the wheels in motion for its "Green Network," a bold plan make cars an optional mode of transport in the city within 15-20 years.

As it stands, around half of the land making up Hamburg, Germany's second largest city, is covered by green and public open spaces. These parks, play areas, sports grounds and cemeteries are scattered from the inner city to the outskirts, with many already joined by two "Green Rings." One of the rings borders the inner city with a radius of around 1 km (0.62 miles) from Hamburg's city hall, the second a little further out with a radius of 8-10 km (5-6.2 miles).

In creating the Green Network, the aim is to better connect these spaces by building a network of closed walking and cycling paths isolated from motor traffic. This will in turn promote recreational activities and champion Hamburg's status as a green metropolis.

In addition to building new routes for a better connected city, the plan involves significant upgrades to existing paths and spaces. This means improving and connecting large parks in the inner city and closing gaps in the outer ring, along with improved signposting and installation of new facilities.

Along with encouraging outdoor activities and promoting walking and cycling as form of transport, the additional green infrastructure will also absorbing water in the case of rain and flooding.

"The green network makes sense from a climate change adaptation perspective, especially since our residents are quite progressive when it comes to climate change adaptation. Many Hamburgers are willing to give up their cars, which is very unusual in Germany," Jens Kerstan, leader of the Greens Party in Hamburg's state parliament told The Guardian.

Source: Green Network

About the Author
Nick Lavars Nick was born outside of Melbourne, Australia, with a general curiosity that has drawn him to some distant (and very cold) places. Somewhere between enduring a winter in the Canadian Rockies and trekking through Chilean Patagonia, he graduated from university and pursued a career in journalism. Having worked for publications such as The Santiago Times and The Conversation, he now writes for Gizmag from Melbourne, excited by tech and all forms of innovation, the city's bizarre weather and curried egg sandwiches. All articles by Nick Lavars

Hello: Yet another horror story ! They'd better use those spaces as parking lots so there is easier access to the city, easier access to the shopping and other services. Hey people ! this is the 21st century, wake up, go forward, not backwards.


@Andre: you are joking right?

This is a great idea. More cars means more pollution, sprawl, more money on drainage systems, and health problems. We've had enough of this 'joy' here in US where in some places there are no sidewalks. Making a city green will provide all sorts of benefits including better quality of life.

Ilya Katsnelson

So how will people move from one residence to another? How will they buy new furniture like a baby crib? You can't carry that on a bike and it'd be murder moving that on a wagon up hill both ways. What happens if their refrigerator goes? Oh I know, they'll use a horse. Because that would be a very clean and green way to go... Just watch where you step...

Technology ain't bad. We should be moving forward towards clean ways of transport, not backwards to prehistoric means of transport.

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