Vauban, a hippie paradise

Elizabeth Couse
November 25, 2017

I'm back! Sorry for the huge delay in posts, but I have been having some technical difficulties all semester with posting. We've finally figured it out though, and I can't wait to spam you with all I've learned this semester! With only 3 weeks left in Freiburg, I'm starting to get incredibly nostalgic and I only look back on these 3 months with the fondest of memories. Here's a little bit about the wonderful neighborhood that I live in, Vauban. 

I'm studying environmental science and sustainability so I think it's a given that I'm some part hippie. Vauban, the neighborhood where about half of our program lives (including me) is a hippie paradise. It's one of the "greenest" neighborhoods in the world and filled with birks, vegans, van-lifers and dreadlocks. I'm so happy to be living here and it's the best of both worlds. A short tram ride to city center, but we're also living right next to amazing running/hiking/biking trails, beautiful vineyards, fruit trees, and the countryside. 

Vauban is truly famous for its innovations and successes in sustainable living and communities. Right before coming to Freiburg, I actually watched a documentary about a sustainable future called Tomorrow and they featured Vauban briefly which got me so excited to be living here. We've been able to study Vauban in several of our classes and it's so cool to be actually living in a place that we're learning about in class.

The neighborhood, Vauban, used to be French military barracks and after the military left in the '90s the vacant buildings were taken over by hippies and anarchists. Eventually, the Freiburg City Council worked with the group to develop the area in an eco-freindly way. Citizen participiation has had a large impact on the development of Vauban and the people living there truly run the neighborhood. The area was set up with a car free concept in mind so much of the neighborhood is blocked off from cars as pedestrian and bike zones. All of the houses were built to a low energy consumption standard and it was the first housing community in the world where the homes produce a positive energy balance. 

The IES Abroad students all live in the student village which is an awesome, diverse, and international group of students. Walking around Vauban, you'll immediately notice the hippie eclectic vibe with porches overflowing with plants, lots of art everywhere, and a whole street of people living in converted van homes. There are a lot of parks and playgrounds and the families and children here are so adorable. There are also solar panels everywhere and the green aspect of the neighborhood is very apparent. I love just walking around, seeing all of the people outside. It's an incredibly community oriented neighborhood. There's also a lovely little stream that runs behind the tram and has a great trail along it that I like to run on. You get to pass many beautiful backyard gardens, schools, parks, community gardens, and eventually vineyards. 

To future IES Abroad students, if you're lucky enough to be living in Vauban take advantage of the unique and special neighborhood. Go to Vaubar (the student bar in Vauban) not just for drinks but open mic nights, film screenings, and many other events. Shop at the grocery co-op, an really cool initiative that is completely community-run. Get dinner at Suden. Take a yoga class at one of the many yoga studios in the neighborhood. Hike up to the Schonberg and through the vineyards. Go to the weekly farmer's market on Wednesdays and chill out one afternoon at 5 Senses Cafe. 

Our group lives in 3 different neighborhoods all over the city, and of course they all have their pros and cons, but I am so happy to be living in Vauban. 

Elizabeth Couse

<p>Hi! My name is Elizabeth and I am a rising sophomore at Cornell University studying International Agriculture &amp; Rural Development. I am passionate about environmentalism, the food system, and travel, so my studies in college so far have perfectly allowed me to combine them all! My dream is to have my own farm/restaurant/learning center where I can teach people about sustainability, farming, and healthy eating. I love the outdoors, hiking, swimming, or really any type of adventure and I can't wait to explore Freiburg and all it has to offer this fall!</p>

Home University:
Cornell University
Binghamton, NY
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