Hamburg has launched a 'Green Network Plan' that will link -- and add to -- the 40 per cent of the city already designated as green areas and public spaces, eliminating the use of cars by its 8 million residents.
Already classed as one of the world's most livable cities -- although it dropped from 10th in 2010 to 17th in 2012 -- Hamburg's large amount of parks, squares, gardens and other 'green' spaces will be integrated into a unique pedestrian and cycle network covering the entire city.
"Other cities ... have green rings, but the Hamburg green network will be unique in covering an area from the outskirts to the city centre. In 15 to 20 years you’ll be able to explore the city exclusively on bike and foot," a spokeswoman for the city's department of urban planning and the environment told the Guardian.
The green spaces in the city's seven municipalities will be networked, and more will be added to help absorb CO2, help moderate Hamburg's climate -- with the city having seen the average temperature rise 1.2ºC in the last 60 years. It will also be designed to help prevent flooding, which has become a growing threat with Hamburg’s sea level rising about 20cm over the 60 years and predicted to rise another 30cm by 2100, according to the Guardian report.
And Hamburg is not just targeting car use within the city limits. The city spokeswoman said the increase in recreational activities in the planned 7000-hectare green network would make it unnecessary for people to head away for the weekends.
"It will offer people opportunities to hike, swim, do water sports, enjoy picnics and restaurants, experience calm and watch nature and wildlife right in the city", she said. "That reduces the need to take the car for weekend outings outside the city."
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