This German Suburb Will Have Everything Except Cars

This parking-free development in Hamburg wants streets to be used for pedestrians and public spaces.

A new planned development outside of Hamburg .

(Courtesy Karres en Brands)

A new suburban neighborhood, Oberbillwerder, is being planned just 15-minutes outside of Hamburg. It has all the amenities that most neighborhoods have except driveways and cars.

Unlike typical American suburbs where houses have driveways and a garage, this community isn’t banning cars but you will not be able to park at home, according to Fast Company, and you may not want to drive at all.

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“It’s not a car-free neighborhood, but it’s a parking-free street,” Darius Reznek, a managing partner at Karres en Brands, told Fast Company. “So there will be no cars parked on the street. Basically, we said that we don’t want cars to define the way streets look. We want to give respect to pedestrians and to public space, and not have it kind of cluttered with parking.”

Karres en Brands is a Dutch design company that is working with the Danish firm Adept on this new community that will have 7,000 homes and 5,000 office spaces. The new planned development will have schools, stores and offices that residents can walk or bike to on the green loops that connect the neighborhoods with public spaces.

“The streets become much more recreative, and used as kind of shared living rooms than just for placing cars,” said Martin Laursen, founding partner at Adept. For those residents that want to own cars, there will be parking garages in the area around 200 – 300 meters away so that for every-day errands it will be easier to bike or walk.

The parking structures will feature ground level community spaces like gyms and indoor farming. These parking areas will also store and collect energy for the community and as demand for parking spaces decrease, the developers expect them to evolve into new structures according to a press release from Karres en Brands.

Oberbillwerder will be a vibrant urban area that will be built around the existing landscape and will include a series of canals in low lying areas. The water system will become one of the central qualities of the new community. This incorporates nature instead of blocking or changing it to fit a traditional neighborhood.

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The community will also be energy neutral and use the most environmental technologies including reusing waste water, green roofs, three-floor canal row houses with floating panels to collect aquaponics, and farming space for residents who want to grow their own food.

The developers expect to break ground in 2025 and the entire project is expected to be completed by 2040 according to Fast Company. While most people will be driving electric cars by then, this urban plan is more about a more natural use of space and better quality of life rather than just about reducing greenhouse gasses from car emissions.

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