Widespread community involvement in the planning and development of the Vauban district has helped it to become a sustainable and flourishing neighbourhood.
Planning for the district started in 1993 and following three development phases, the project will be completed in 2006. The site (38 hectares) will be home to more than 5000 inhabitants and 600 jobs. The main goal of the project is to create a city district in a co-operative and participatory way, meeting ecological, social, economic and cultural requirements.
The landowner, the City of Freiburg, is responsible for the planning and development of the site. This has been characterised by a 'Learning while Planning' principle allowing flexibility in reacting to development proposals and through extended citizen participation.
A major achievement by the City of Freiburg has been to divide land into small plots and allocate it in preference to private builders and Baugruppen (co-housing groups). Although the development plan included some regulations for the design and layout of the homes, a variety of structures exists and builders have had the freedom to design and develop the homes they aspire to. Coherence is provided through the extensive use of ecological measures and the 'car-free' and 'parking-free' concepts of living.
Perhaps the greatest strengths of the Vauban project are the ideas, creativity and commitment of the people involved and their common goal in creating a sustainable and flourishing neighbourhood.