The Greening of Hamburg

A team of 30 city planners in Hamburg, Germany are working on a massive project that is sure to keep Hamburg in the list of one of Europe’s most sustainable cities.  A previous winner of the European Green Capital award in 2011, Hamburg has recently announced ambitious plans for reshaping the city centre over the next 20 years which will see cars excluded from large areas, set aside for pedestrians and bicycles.

The project is aptly called Grünes Netz or “Green Network” and its aim is to connect the green areas of the city — parks, recreational areas, playgrounds, cemeteries and gardens — with a comprehensive web of pedestrian and bike-friendly paths. The network will eventually cover about 40% of the city, making it far more feasible to leave the car at home.

As reported in The Independent, spokeswoman for the city, Angelika Fritsch explained, “Other cities, including London, have green rings, but the green network will be unique in covering an area from the outskirts to the city centre. In 15 to 20 years you’ll be able to explore the city exclusively on bike and foot.”

Jens Kerstan, leader of Hamburg’s Green Party underscored that the one of the main objectives is to adapt the city to climate change, an issue still overlooked by many politicians.

The plan is particularly commendable coming from a country that is still the 4th largest car manufacturer in the world.  “Our residents are quite progressive. Many Hamburgers are willing to give up their cars, which is very unusual in Germany,” Kerstan commented.

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