Hamburg’s Green Network Plan to Eliminate Cars by 2034
Amidst concerns of climate change and rising sea levels, Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city, has an idea to eliminate cars in the city by 2034. They call it the Green Network Plan.
Although other cities have gone green, Hamburg intends to be unique. They are planning a city-wide network of green paths that will connect parks, gardens, playgrounds and other recreational areas in an effort to make city exploration exclusive to foot and bicycle traffic.
Two large green areas, one to the north and a larger one to the south, already cover 40% of Hamburg’s 292-square-miles. The Green Network plan seeks to link those areas via smaller parks and trails that will even incorporate animal habitats. The team to bring this about will be composed of a core of 30 city officials including representatives from each of the seven municipalities in the region.
Hamburg will also create new green spaces. These areas will assist in the two main goals of the plan. They will absorb CO2 to help regulate the city’s climate. The temperature has risen 1.2 degrees Celsius in the last 60 years. The large expanses of green will also help limit the effects of flooding. The sea level is up 20 centimeters since the 1950s and storm surges could raise it another 30 centimeters by the year 2100.
There is an added economic benefit. Green cities tend to attract more highly educated and progressive people which in turn raises the median income and spurs development.
In creating the Green Network, Hamburg is following in the footsteps of Copenhagen,Denmark, the first CO2 neutral capital in the world. Over the last ten years Copenhagen has largely accomplished what Hamburg is setting out to do.
Hamburg has long seen itself as a green-friendly city. It is now to be seen whether or not Hamburgers are ready to give up their cars.