TransUrban: Charting Experiments for Cities of the Future
Case Study 01: Vauban
Author: Thomas Schroepfer
Author: Limin Hee Harvard Graduate School of Design, 2007
TransUrban is an ambitious project that attempts to chart design ideas, ideals, and processes of recent and current experiments for cities of the future. TransUrbanexamines the idea of sustainable cities beyond the environmental and ecological aspects by documenting and analyzing emergent forms of urbanism and extracting lessons that may shape cities to come. These built experiments embody complex topics of design, dwelling, community in space, building technologies, environmental strategies, as well as models of affordability, while exploring new trajectories in the development of the city. Topographies of change re-contour the forms of urbanism as we know it, and do not conform to generic typologies, but create in concert a shift of paradigms. The patterns that emerge reveal complexity and integrated thinking across disciplines. TransUrban charts this terrain to find applicable design strategies for the future.
The book TransUrban. Charting Experiments for Cities of the Future. Case study 01: Vauban is a compilation of the first case study performed by the TransUrban research group. Vauban is a new major development of a sustainable city district comprising 38-hectare former barracks site near the town center of Freiburg in Germany that was purchased by the city in 1994 with the goal of converting it into a flagship environmental and social project. Vauban comprises 2,000 homes to house 5,000 people as well as business units to provide about 500-600 jobs. The project is currently nearing completion and is widely seen as one of the most positive examples in Europe of environmental thinking in relation to urban design.
The TransUrban research group compared the guiding principles of urbanism in Vauban with the built product. Extracting the particular strengths and weaknesses of this case, conclusions are drawn for future sustainable developments with similar ambitions.