Vauban factfile

Site of a former army barracks

Total area: 41 hectares, of which 16.4 ha residential, 1.6 ha industrial, 2.6  ha ‘green’ spaces, 12.4 ha traffic and two ha public spaces

Population: approx 5,500, or 2,472 households

Population density: 134.9 residents per ha

Energy efficiency of housing: 65 kWh/m2, with many houses (about 50) of ‘passivhaus’ standard, at 15 kWh/m2 and some even producing a surplus of energy 

Low-carbon technologies include heating from a combined heat and power station, solar collectors and photovoltaics

Number of cars: 172 per 1,000 residents; some 70 per cent of the population don’t own a car (to own a car involves purchasing a parking space in a multi-storey car park on the outskirts of Vauban, for US$23,350, plus a monthly service charge)

Organic household waste is treated with an anaerobic digester

Planning began 1993, district ‘completed’ 2006

Land divided into small plots and preferably allocated to ‘community construction companies’ and Baugruppen (co-housing groups)

About two-thirds of homes were built by these ‘community construction communities’/co-operatives and about a third by private builders/residential developers

First house completed in August 1999 – subsequent monitoring found that that additional cost of making the building energy-efficient (an additional seven per cent) was ‘paid back’ within ten years.

Detached homes prohibited, buildings to be no more than four storeys in height

In the city of Freiburg, of which Vauban is a district: 400 km of cycle paths, over 9,000 bicycle parking spaces, with 70 per cent of the population living within 500 m of a tram stop, served by a tram every 7.5 minutes

Also in the city of Freiburg, community participation in the city’s Land Use Plan involved 19 working groups of technical officers and local people

Sources: Quartier Vauban (Freiburg marketing),,, and

Pictured: Vauban, 2010, Picture credit: Steven Tolson

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