Hamburg, in a move to green up the city, is taking a multi-faceted approach, one part of which includes removing all cars from the city by 2034.
It might seem odd, in a couple decades, to visit Hamburg, the second-biggest city in Germany, and not find the streets filled with cars that the country is famous for. Imagine walking through Hamburg, Germany, or better yet, biking through Hamburg, and not being choked by Audi emissions, or hearing the the sounds of innumerable BMW horns, or worrying about being blind-sided by a Porsche? (see note) That’s the plan being devised by Hamburg’s “Green Network” city planners.
Banning cars from Hamburg’s city center is just a small part of the plan. The Hamburg Green Network, described by spokeswoman Angelika Fritsch, won’t “just help residents to get from Point A to B in a sustainable fashion. It will offer people opportunities to hike, swim, do water sports, enjoy picnics, restaurants, experience calms, and watch nature, right in the city.”
Instead of using cars to get around the city, residents and visitors will use Hamburg’s public transportation system, as well as other features being planned by the Hamburg Green Network. Bicycle highways will replace the automobile road system in the city, as well as greenways for walking. Following the distribution patterns we might find in the human body, Hamburg’s new transportation system, completely devoid of cars, will enable pedestrians and bikers to explore the entire city, emissions-free.
Part of the reason for this change has a lot to do with the effect that climate change is having on Hamburg. The median temperature in Hamburg, over the last 60 years, has gone up by 2.2°F (1.2°C), to 48°F (9°C). At the same time, sea levels have risen by 7.9 inches (20 cm). The Hamburg Green Network might not do anything, on its own, to stop climate change, even in its immediate area, but it could serve as a pattern, for other great cities of the world, in their efforts to green up.
NOTE: I have nothing against BMW, Audi, or Porsche. They’ve got some pretty green technologies in their own rights. Still, this apparently isn’t enough to get them on the streets of Hamburg once the restrictions kick in.