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2013 "European Cities of Vision" Study Tour
"European Cities of Vision"
Freiburg and Strasbourg
September 27 – October 4, 2013
The 2013 "European Cities of Vision" Study Tour offers elected officials and planners the opportunity to visit and learn in depth about two of Europe’s most livable and sustainable cities – Freiburg and Strasbourg. Both cities have been recognized internationally for their leadership in sustainable transportation planning, promotion of walking and biking, traffic calming mechanisms, human scale mixed-use development, solar energy and sustainability. Tours and talks are given by the planning leaders and staff responsible for these achievements. All sessions are conducted in English. Participation limited to 20.
As former Governor of the Süd-Baden region, and former First Mayor, I am delighted to welcome international participants to the 2013 IMCL European Cities of Vision Study Tour to be held in Freiburg, September 27- October 4, 2013.
Freiburg has developed compact, mixed-use transit oriented new neighborhoods that contain all necessary shops and services to achieve 10-minute communities. Regional planning, involving collaboration between France, Switzerland and Germany, has focused on protecting the unique ecological heritage and productivity of the region, integrating transportation networks, preventing sprawl and big box retail, and focusing growth within existing city boundaries.
I will be honored to share with you what we have learned in these efforts to make our city and region more sustainable, healthy and child-friendly. I look forward to seeing you in Freiburg.
Dr. Sven von Ungern-Sternberg
Vorstand, Badische Heimat
Former Governor (Regierungspräsident), Süd-Baden
Former First Mayor (Erster Bürgermeister), City of Freiburg
As Lord Mayor of this beautiful city, I am honoured that you put Freiburg in the focus of your studies for the 2013 IMCL European Cities of Vision Study Tour. We will be pleased to share with you all the voluntary steps Freiburg has taken to become a green and sustainable city. We have worked diligently to protect the hospitable character of our historic city center. With our transportation concept we have put an emphasis on walking, biking and public transportation, and we developed concepts for low-energy architecture, for green streets, and for sustainable new urban neighbourhoods.
Our city staff will be pleased to give you an impression of what we have achieved, and will join you on interesting city tours. We hope you will find many new ideas that will be valuable in your own efforts to make your city more healthy and sustainable.
I very much look forward to welcome you in Freiburg.
Lord Mayor (Oberbürgermeister), City of Freiburg
On behalf of the City of Strasbourg, I am pleased to welcome you to our beautiful city for the 2013 IMCL European Cities of Vision Study Tour. Our city government has long emphasized the importance of maintaining this historic city’s unique identity and ensuring that it continues to support health and well-being in the present day.
We are proud of our achievements in creating a city-wide light rail system that has become a model for cities around the world. It’s speed, comfort and affordability allowed us to free the city center from cars and reclaim our wealth of squares for social life and special events. We will gladly explain the diversity of these squares and the functions they serve. They give tremendous vigor to the city center, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.
We will be pleased to show you what we have done, and share what we have learned in this process of urban transformation.
I hope to welcome you in our city, and I wish you a very good visit.
Lord Mayor (Le Mairie), City of Strasbourg
Situated on the edge of the Black Forest close to Switzerland and France, Freiburg is widely recognized as one of the world’s most livable, sustainable and child-friendly cities. Not only retaining and enhancing the beauty, walkability, mixed use and vibrancy of its historic city, Freiburg planning over the last 40 years has emphasized biking, walking and public transit, traffic calming, mixed-use human-scale development to create a “city of short distances”, and numerous sustainability measures such as regional heating, recycling, and low-energy buildings. Regional planning has focused development within city boundaries, and thus prevented sprawl. Historic castles, villages and towns have been protected. A strong emphasis is placed by Germany, Switzerland and France on ensuring ecological standards and protecting the diversity of vineyards, orchards and farms that produce the region’s renowned specialty items.
Freiburg has a cheerful character. Blessed by a warm climate, a young population (it has a large university interwoven throughout the city), excellent wines, and a festive tradition, Freiburg is a delightful city to study for all those concerned with city livability. Cities around the world have much to learn from details such as Freiburg’s “city carpet” (paving throughout the pedestrian zone); bicycle network planning and bike services; public transit design and linking policies; principles for developing new urban neighborhoods; traffic calming details (Wohnstrasse, Verkehrsberuhigung), etc.
In 1993, IMCL awarded the City of Freiburg the IMCL City of Vision Award. Today, we are proud to work with the City of Freiburg and the Regional Planning Board of the Upper Rhine to share with you all the innovations and improvements in livability and sustainability the City has achieved in the last few years.
Strasbourg, for centuries considered the “Crossroads of Europe”, is located in the Alsace Region of France, close to Freiburg. In the Middle Ages, it’s function as an important European meeting place was expressed in the innumerable squares and market places that supported international exchange. Today, Strasbourg’s unique identity finds expression in its role as seat of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament.
Of special note for making cities livable are the city’s wealth of traffic-free squares within a fine-grained, mixed-use urban fabric, and its exemplary light rail system that runs through the city center and out to suburban areas. This system was inaugurated in 1994, and now consists of 6 lines offering 35 miles of quiet, comfortable fast commuter transportation.
In 1994, IMCL awarded Strasbourg the IMCL City of Vision Award. We are proud to work with the City of Strasbourg to bring participants to this city to learn from Strasbourg’s continuing leadership in these aspects of livability.
The 700 year old hotel “Zum Roten Bären”, may be one of the oldest inn in Europe. From its medieval cellar to the baroque roof it is filled with character, and yet the rooms are spacious, modern, and luxuriously comfortable. The hotel’s restaurant has a great reputation for its outstanding cuisine. The hotel is located in the pedestrian old city, just a few steps from the Münsterplatz.
Seminar presentations and discussions will take place in the hotel’s conference rooms.
Getting to Freiburg
Flying via Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg:
If you plan to fly to Freiburg, the closest airport is Euro-Airport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg, which is 60 km (37 miles) south of Freiburg. From here, a taxi ride will cost approximately 90 Euros ($115).
Alternatively, the SBG-Airbus runs almost every hour to Freiburg Railway station. The journey is about 50 minutes. The fare is 23 Euros ($30) one way, 39 Euros ($51) round trip. You must pay the driver in cash (not by card). From Freiburg railway station to Zum Roten Bären the taxi ride will be approximately 5 Euros ($7). You may also take the streetcar Line 1 from the bridge above the rail tracks in the direction of Littenweiler. You get off at the third stop, Oberlinden. Tickets are available at the ticket automat and cost 2.10 Euros.
Flying via Frankfurt:
If you fly to Frankfurt, you will need to take the train to Freiburg. There is a train station beneath Terminal One. Look for signs saying DB (=Deutsche Bahn) or Fernbahnhof. (Do not go to Regionalbahnhof.) There are direct Inter City Express (ICE) trains to Freiburg every other hour, and it takes about 2 hours to get from Frankfurt to Freiburg. On the second hour, there is a connection with a change of trains in Mannheim. Since the two trains are on opposite sides of the same platform in Mannheim, it is an easy transition - even with luggage. One way tickets for the ICE are currently 65 Euros ($84).
From Freiburg railway station to Zum Roten Bären the taxi ride will be approximately 5 Euros ($7). You may also take the streetcar Line 1 from the bridge above the rail tracks in the direction of Littenweiler. You get off at the third stop, Oberlinden. Tickets are available at the ticket automat and cost 2.10 Euros.
If you choose to drive to Freiburg, please note that you may drive to the hotel to unload, but you cannot drive the car within the historic center. You will not need a car during the Seminar. The hotel provides parking at a cost of 10 Euros per night. You will be required to have an environmental badge for the car because the hotel is within the “Green” zone. For directions to the hotel by car, please click here.