What Makes Freiberg so People Friendly?

Perfection is a difficult thing to analyze! After only a week or so, we realized that Freiberg had achieved a very high level of people friendliness just because we were enjoying life so much! But as Urban Ecologists, we felt compelled to move away from this ad hoc, circumstantial, empirical evidence to a more nuanced, careful analysis. Such an analysis, we reasoned, would identify best practices that other cities might emulate.

So, guided by our Principles of People Friendly Cities, let's take a tour of Freiberg.

First, we'll look for evidence of Pleasing and Efficient Physical Form.

  • Distinctive, Charming, Appealing Buildings of Distinguished Design that Create a Strong Sense of Place


  • the Sense of Sacred and Respected Space Through Preeminent Municipal and Commercial Buildings and Evocative Cultural Structures


  • Fully Connected Lanes, Streets and Boulevards; Mixed Land Uses Within Neighborhoods to Create Vibrant Urban Places


  • a Wide Range of Housing Choices, including a Diversity of Affordable Options


  • Reduced Water and Energy Use, and Minimized Emissions of Air Pollutants and Climate Changing Gases through Green Building Methods and Materials; Infrastructure to Prevent Water Pollution, Reduce Solid Waste, Enable Use of Energy from Renewable Sources, and Permit Water Reuse


Freiberg offers residents the full range of Mobility choices.

  • An Appealing, Convenient, Effective Pedestrian Environment


  • Safe, Convenient Bicycle Pathways and Facilities


  • An Available, Efficient and Affordable System of Bus, Subway, Tram and Other Transit


  • Reduced Need for Private Vehicle Trips (note the very small and half empty parking lot in front of this supermarket)


Nestled in Valleys Between the Mountains of the Black Forest, Natural World Connections are Never Far Away.

  • Parks, Open Space, Gardens, Historical and Archaeological Sites within the Urban Environment


  • Farmland, Watershed, and Wildlife Habitat Beyond the Urban Edge


Freiburg didn't get to be the perfect 'People Friendly' city overnight. It has taken many decades for the residents and the city government to implement all the elements that contribute to Freiburg's 'People Friendliness'. But cities wishing to do better could certainly learn from Freiburg's example.

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