Hamburg Plans A People Friendly Green Network

Today, dedicated bicycle and pedestrian paths are becoming more common in the globes’ cities, for example Copenhagen has around 400 km of dedicated cycle paths. The latest initiative comes from Germany’s second largest city, Hamburg, which is hoping to have a dedicated Green Network for cyclists and pedestrians throughout the city within the next 20 years.

Hamburg car-free city

Snapshot of Hamburg's proposed "Green Network" map. Source: http://www.hamburg.de/gruenes-netz

The proposed "Green Network" plan is different from previous cycling or pedestrian initiatives, in the sense that the green network will cover an area all the way from the outskirts of the city to the city center. The network will cover a large portion of Hamburg and it is expected that over the next 15 to 20 years there will be a steady construction of the network, allowing people to explore the city by 2034 exclusively on bike and foot.

Already around 40 percent of the Hamburg cityscape is made up of green areas, gardens, parks, squares, sports facilities, and cemeteries. The plan will join together the city's existing green spaces and public places using bicycle routes and pedestrian pathways, and will expand public transport. By fanning out from the city center initially, the central green spaces will be connected with the existing north and south green areas of the city. The network will provide a safe commuter space for the city's residents, which is car-free.

The plan also involves expanding the existing green spaces further with more natural spaces, partly as an effort to regulate the city's climate. In the last 60 years, the average temperature of the city has risen by 1.2ºC, to an average of 9ºC. By extending the green spaces, and avoiding further urban development, the climate can be better regulated and it should also reduce the risk of flooding, which has increased in recent years.

To ensure that the changes are integrated with local needs appropriately, a core team of planners will work with the local people from each municipality of the city, and with one person from each of the seven municipalities of the metropolitan region.

Creating cities that can be experienced exclusively by bicycle or foot is an exciting concept, and it will be interesting to see this plan come to fruition. Maybe the plan can be used as an inspiration for other cities around the world in the future.

*It was previously reported that Hamburg plans to become car-free but this is incorrect. The Green Network plan aims to provide an alternative transport option for people, but it does not explicitly aim to remove cars from the city.

Last updated Tuesday, February 11, 2014

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