I want a city like this

Why is it that new housing developments in the US are filled with giant cookie-cutter houses crammed in next to each other, and burdened with ridiculous covenant requirements of lawns and four car garages, without a grocery store in walking distance?

Why can’t we have places like Freiburg’s Quartier Vauban?  (pictures on Flickr, and another, and another)  5000 people, and one main street with a speed limit of 30 km/hr, smaller side streets meant primarily for bikes and walking.  No parking on private property – all cars have to be stored in the structures at the margins of the development.  40% of the households have no car.  A light-rail connection to central Freiburg (which is all of 2 miles away).  600 on-site jobs of various kinds, including the grocery store that’s within walking distance of the entire community.  Lots of different kinds of (mostly smaller) living spaces.  Vegetable gardens and fruit trees.  Public playing fields and parks.


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Zane Selvans

A former space explorer, now marooned on a beautiful, dying world.

3 thoughts on “I want a city like this”

  1. The answer: because in America not enough people who want this in the same place. Sure, there are many Americans who desire to live the way you do, but it seems that a minimum density has not been reached in order to start such a community. Hopefully, places in Washington, Oregon, and California are reaching the critical density. Certainly, you will remain a minority in Los Angeles until these types of towns and cities are successfully implemented elsewhere.

    So you have two choices: try to start gathering like-minded individuals in one location to start something like you show above, or work with what you have in Los Angeles while recognizing you may never quite attain what you want but you may attain improvements.

    Addendum to my answer: because not enough Americans know about the options to urban and suburban living. Dissemination of information is key, and you are already doing that.

  2. Or there’s the cop-out third way: start studying German…

    Trying to get something like this started in LA seems masochistic, which is one reason I look forward to moving back to Boulder (or some similar micro-culture), with a high enough concentration of people who are already aware that such places could possibly exist, and might be interested in helping to create them, and where the local government could at least plausibly see the project in a positive light, and actually help navigate the building and planning requirements, which would certainly render such a development outright illegal almost everywhere in the US.

    Nice to have models for inspiration though. Easier than truly starting from scratch.

  3. I think soto97’s response is insightful. I would join you if I could have a job in such a community. I am not a fan of those cookie cutter houses with tons of rules and expensive membership fees.

    Would it be even theoretically possible to reorganize all of urban Los Angeles like Quartier Vauban? Where do the Home Depots go? Where do the factories go?

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