German city expanding ‘Green Network,’ limiting vehicle traffic

BY Bridget Bowman  January 22, 2014 at 2:11 PM EDT
Photo by Ed Chadwick/Flickr

The German city of Hamburg is expanding it’s “Green Network,” enabling citizens to travel throughout the city by foot or bike. Photo by Ed Chadwick/Flickr

Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city, is currently working to expand its green space in an ambitious plan known as the “Green Network.”

“The ‘GrunesNetz-Hamburg’ connects– even if not completely– the parks, play areas and sports grounds, allotments and cemeteries within the city and through to its outskirts. It thereby creates routes among green surroundings, undisturbed by traffic,” read the plan.

The network is set to be completed within the next two decades. Angelika Fritsch, a spokeswoman for Hamburg’s Ministry of Urban Development and Environment, told the Guardian this past October that “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.

Hamburg’s Green Party has encouraged the plan, which was adopted by the city government in 1997, and says the network will be successful. Green Party leader Jens Kerstan told The Independent last week, “our residents are quite progressive. Many Hamburgers are willing to give up their cars which is very unusual in Germany.”

Hamburg’s project will not only enhance the city’s walkability and scenery, but will also help the “green” city become even more environmentally-friendly. As a port city facing rising temperatures and sea levels, Hamburg is also using climate analysis and climate change scenarios as “an important basis for the update of the landscape program.”