CIVITAS partners gather in Freiburg

GA in Freiburg

Image by ICLEI Europe

Last week, CIVITAS coordinating partner, ICLEI Europe, hosted a full consortium meeting in Freiburg, Germany, for two days of planning, debating and inspiration. This was an opportunity to take stock,  one year after the current CIVITAS consortium kicked off, and to increase the momentum for the coming year.

The event began with a warm welcome from Stefan Kuhn, ICLEI Europe's Deputy Director, who gave some insights into the history of the global network for sustainable local governments. The partners then used the opportunity of this in-person meeting to address key questions around the up-coming CIVITAS Forum, capacity building activities, the importance of involving youth, growing the CIVITAS Community, shaping the Thematic Clusters, ensuring we all communicate using consistent terminology and much more.

A highlight of the event was a presentation from Peter Schick, City of Freiburg, on the host city's involvement in former CIVITAS project Park4SUMP and the local mobility strategy and developments. The exchange continued on a walking tour of Freiburg's eco-district, Vauban, with its unique features contributing to a largely self-sufficient neighbourhood filled with citizen-led initiatives and sustainable solutions in terms of energy, food, funding, construction, and - of course - mobility! The group learned how Vauban's founding resulted from a bottom-up initiative formed from growing opposition to a nuclear plant construction plans in the region in the 70s and 80s. They witnessed the calm of no parking spaces along local streets - there is one central parking building where privately-owned cars must be kept. With an impressively low number of cars (17 per 100 inhabitants), a "dead-end" for cars at the end of the neighbourhood, where only pedestrians and cyclists can pass through, a tram and a bus line reaching Vauban from two opposite directions, connecting it with the neighbouring areas, the group gained inspiration and energy to continue advancing sustainable mobility in Europe.

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