IMG_1100 IMG_1101 Freiburg is adorable, it is a smallish [230,000] German city in Baden-Württemburg. It was completely flattened in Word War II, with the exception of its beautiful cathedral. There is a gigantic farmer’s market around said cathedral every day, and they even have a gluten-and-dairy-free bakery/sausage cart! They rebuilt the city as it was before the war, which is fantastic, because it was/is beautiful.

We are getting all of the rain that we somehow avoided in Scandinavia — it is so odd — usually Scandinavia is rainy, and Freiburg is one of the sunniest places in Germany.

More about the eco-district Vauban after the cut!

IMG_1102 IMG_1103 The stormwater channels are open — and they also divert the river through larger channels throughout the city for urban cooling

The cobblestones are made from river rocks cut in half — they are so pretty!!!IMG_1104 IMG_1105Stone placards outside of businesses/institutions indicate their useIMG_1110This is a fun detail from a social housing project we went to — there are 16 floors in the building, and each set of neighbors made their own artwork, which is now displayed on the front of the building.

We also visited Vauban, one of two eco-district developments in Freiburg. The other eco-district is Rieselfeld, and it is larger, less hippie, and more expensive to live in than Vauban. Vauban was a former French military base, and when the military left in 1992 it was occupied by hippies and anarchists [kind of like Christiania in Copenhagen]. However, unlike Christiania was purchased by the city and redeveloped in the early 2000s.

They put the tram line in first, so nobody could be NIMBY about it.

Many of the housing developments were conceived using a concept that is very long and very German, but what it means is that a cohort of interested owners gets together with an architect to design a multi-family home that they want to live in [rather than just having a developer swoop in and make a bunch of expensive apartments that look the same]. Many of the former military buildings were refurbished and retrofitted as well the new construction.

There is a lot of economic diversity built into Vauban, including housing cooperatives in the former barracks, which include a very-low-income housing component, and even a homeless shelter. No one economic group was allowed to dominate one part of the development.IMG_1119IMG_1113IMG_1121IMG_1124IMG_1135One of the co-ops from former barracksIMG_1134Parking structure! Yes, those are frosted glass panelsIMG_1133IMG_1131Fairy tentIMG_1127The tramway is planted with grass which insulates the tracks incredibly well, functions as a bioswale, and is pretty.