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