Official partner of Green City Freiburg


Ein Interview mit Freiburg Future Lab zum Thema teures Wohnen in Freiburg –
und was dagegen helfen könnte:


Study tour of the "Israeli Forum of Local Governments‘ Environmental Administration" in Freiburg

20 colaborators of environmental protection administrations of israelian cities have participated in a study tour to Freiburg which Freiburg Future Lab organized. Subjects of the tours and presentations were: Reduction of traffic, how to deal with solide waste and waste water, energy efficiency of cities. All participants – not really used to walks in high mountains – managed the hiking tour on the Schauinsland quite fine, but compared it with the march that recruits of the isrealian army have to absolve in order to get their beret. The visit of the waste water treatment facility "Staufener Bucht" was subject of an article in the regional newspaper "Badische Zeitung" – and might lead to a visit of German waste water treatment experts in Israel. Because in Israel, water is scarcer than in Germany, and climate change is making it rarer also in Germany, the head of the waste water treatment plant Mr. Michael thinks there might be a lot to learn in Israel. It is clear to him that regulations will have to change in Germany, too. In Israel, German technology – super fine, highly efficient membranes – is already used to clean the waste water far enough to be used for irrigation in agriculture.

>>   Article Badische Zeitung, 17.09.2019


Article in Paris Match

The french people magazine Paris Match has published a series of articles on sustainable development, one of which is dedicated to the eco-districts of Freiburg, Rieselfeld and Vauban. We talked with the author, Catherine Schwaab, and obviously managed to pass our enthousiasm about living there.


Lecture at the french-german congress in Colmar the 19th of October 2018:
Building highly energy efficient AND affordable buildings – how is this possible?


We all know that prices for real estate are rising, and so do the rents. So the subject was discussed intensely after my presentation. Of course, insulation and better windows are costing money. But compared with the rising of construction prices (because of high demand) and prices for building for building ground, these expenses contribute very few to higher prices for housing or public buildings. In Freiburg, most low energy, passive or plus energy buildings for housing have been built by cooperatives or homeowner cooperatives. The payback on the surplus investment comes back quickly, as heating costs are low or inexistent. The running costs are considerably lower also for energy efficient office or public buildings.
The statement on which the participants agreed was the following: Housing should not be subjected totally to market los. Low or non-profit projects should be favored. This is what happens by building with cooperatives or homeowner cooperatives.


My article about chances and risks of deep geothermal in the south-west of Germany has been published. After a disaster due to a geothermal drill in a medieval city near Freiburg, and some earthquakes due to fracking for geothermal exploitations in Basel, geothermie seemed just dead in the region. But now, a lot of actors are watching what happens on the other side of the Rhine, in the french Alsace: One geothermal project after the other is realized there, without problems. Shouldn't this be possible also around Freiburg, and help to free it from the dependency from fossile fuels?


My article about the role of cooperatives and co-owner construction groups for financing energy efficient cities has been published in the magazine "Quality Cities" (danish).


My article about how to afford energy efficient buildings has been published in the magazine of the Union of Municipalities of Turkey (p. 18-22):

What a pity that I don't read Turkish, I would have loved to read how Turkey aproaches the subject of the sustainable city.


Fine particles in the air, coming mostly from combustion of diesel or wood, are dangerous for human health, even if the official limits are not exceeded, explains nano-toxicologist Richard Gminski from the Institute for environmental medicine of the university clinics of Freiburg. This is the interview Astrid Mayer did with the expert:


Freiburg Future Lab member of the cooperative "Haus des Engagements"

The city of Freiburg will have to decide soon between two investors: Who will buy the former citizen administration centre, situated very attractively in the city centre, that has now become obsolete because of the newly built technical town hall? The university of Freiburg wants the building for its student’s union. And the cooperative “house of citizens”, composed of now 71 institutions, associations and companies, wants it, Freiburg Future Lab being one of it. More information here. The specialist for energetical renovations, Willi Sutter from the cooperative "Bogenständig" is one of the associates, too.

The "house of the citizens" will house associations and companies engaged in susbtainable development and social well-being. It wants to help coordinate and civic participation and engagement.

The decision about whom the building will be sold by the city will be taken the 2nd of February by the city council. If it won’t be postponed: A lot of parties are still undecided, some of them would prefer to wait and get more information before deciding.
>>   Badische Zeitung, 25.01.2017


Guest of the ILGBC (Israelian Green Building Council) in Tel Aviv for workshops and lectures

With the help of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Freiburg Future Lab was invited to the "white city" for a series of workshops and lectures about sustainable urbanism. Tel Aviv is a fast growing city, with a wonderful seaside promenade and a lot of traffic problems. But also with beautiful avenues rich with old trees and a wonderful, huge Bauhaus heritage – thanks to Ayal Ronen for the visit there! We had an inspiring workshop about establishing a catalogue of criteria to define sustainable neighbourhoods, a workshop at the Tel Aviv town hall about the planning of sustainable new districts and mobility, and a workshop with the ILGBC staff.
It was encouraging to meet a lot of young people, and of experienced, engaged people. To those in the audience of my lecture in the old port of Tel Aviv, who think about leaving their city for Freiburg: Coming back here meant facing a temperature gap of 25°C! No Yoga on the roof terrace any more in winter time!


The Union of Turkish Municipalities has visited Freiburg for a study tour about energy efficiency in the cities. But energy efficiency is not the sole concern.

Interview with Recep Şahin, Deputy General Secretary of the Union of Turkish Municipalities

Future Lab: What are the main goals of the Union of Turkish Municipalities at the moment?

Recep Şahin: Our main goals is to support municipalities. Especially three domains are important:
First: Capacity strengthening by trainings, participation to fairs, congresses etc. We work with mayors, council members and all municipal officials.
Second: Defining the problematic areas of municipalities and political lobbying to solve these problems. We have to increase the revenues and boost the financial development of the municipalities. The main preoccupations are urban transformation, public transportation, waste management, water and wastewater issues, i.e; leakages in drinking water network, difficulties in expropriation activities and so on.
Third: Take part in the legislation processes concerning municipalities.

Future Lab: What are the most dynamic cities in Turkey at the moment, and what are the challenges there?

Recep Şahin: In 2014, a law has enlarged the responsibilities of bigger municipalities (in 30 out of 81 provinces). They are now also in charge of many domains, except security, health and education and have to deal with a lot of different technical and socio-economic issues. The new greater municipalities are more busy and have to provide more efforts than others.

Future Lab: Is climate change an issue that the Union thinks should be addressed also on municipality level?

Recep Şahin: Of course, the involvement, effort and handling of the local authorities regarding climate issues are essential. Here, "bottom up" – initiatives will be very precious. The Mınistry of Environment has issued a climate change action plan in 2010 and municipalities are supposed to improve the efficiency in public transportation, the energy efficiency in buildings, to install proper waste disposal.

Future Lab: Do you believe that more climate friendly cities will be cities with a better life quality also?

Recep Şahin: I believe that the more ecological solution will be the more economic one on the long run. We should achieve this for the sustainability of life, and also taking into account life standards.


Invited to the first summer university of the french public administration

In the gorgeous site of the former Cluny abbey, place of ancient knowledge and wisdom, the first summer university oft he french public administration took place, with a try for innovative learning methodes. This meant: a lot of movement, remixing the groups, stimulating communication. Being seated on lawns or in the ancient buildings, instead of seats around a table – and making work different brain areas.

The workshop about sustainable urbanism had also an input from Freiburg Future Lab – without power point, just told as a story: What has been innovative, why, and what hasn't been? What is innovation actually? Questions that made us think and exchange a lot, and in a very pleasant way.


Astrid Mayer key note speaker for "Liveable cities – Visions and Reality"

A conference by the sea in Aarhus, Denmark, organized by the danish association for sustainable cities and buildings ("Foreningen Baeredygte Byer og Bygninger").

The complexity of planning and what became of the plans in reality was the subject of the lecture given by Astrid Mayer in Aarhus. Freiburg is planning two new eco-districts and has two eco-districts where ready since some years, so a balance can be made about success and satisfaction and how they were obtained. Interesting discussions about the possibilities of civic participation and how to obtain social mix followed. Other speakers were Kai Dietrich from the IBA Hamburg and Jens Egdal from Ramboll; Roland Zinkernagel, Malmö.


Our colaborator Andreas Delleske invited to Bratislava

"What is the City?", the Goethe-Institut in Bratislava asked in a series of presentations, and also invited Andreas Delleske to talk about the Vauban district.

Present was also the mayor who wants Bratislava to develop. Still dwelling and working places are quite seperated in the city. But alternative projects are developing there, too. Another speaker was Mattijs van't Hoff, who talked about the concept of "Plinths" – how to create diverse and inviting streets by having working on the ground floors.


Our contribution to the international seminary "Attractiveness of Territories" in Strasbourg

Freiburg Future Lab has contributed to the international seminary "Attractiveness of Territories" in Strasbourg, organized by the Strasbourg Agency for Urbanism ADEUS. How can "attractiveness" be defined, how can it be improved? Should a region attract talents from outside or rather stimulate and promote the inhabitants? What can give impulses and a positive dynamism to a region or city? The seminary brought exciting debates also because of the presence of referees coming from different horizons: Economical scientists questioned popular models – and Future Lab spoke about civic participation as a quality management tool in urban planning processes.


World cultural heritage Jeju Island is looking for sustainable development

The province government of Jeju Island, Korea, wants to stop urban sprawl, promote use of public transportation and develop renewable energies: Wind and sun don't lack on the island. Freiburg Future Lab was guest for a lecture on the volcano island declared world cultural heritage by the UNESCO. There is much to do, also in order to make the mass tourism on the island more sustainable: 12 million tourists every year, mostly from china. Protect the natural resources, communicate about the very special nature and culture of this particularly beautiful piece of earth is one of the goals of the province government, which got a particularly developed status of autonomy some years ago.


Seminary in Sweden: Energy Management of small and middle sized municipalities

With examples from Germany, and also an input of Freiburg Future Lab: How can municipalities plan their energy supply? On which levels can this happen, how strong should decentralization be practiced?
The answer for Sweden seems simple: Most of the households in and around Stockholm – where a majoritiy of Swedens live – are connected to a heat grid. Why not keep this practice?
Simply because the more energy efficient buildings become – and they do become in Sweden – the less the connection to the heat grid is rentable; neither for the company running the grid (weak consumption) nor for the user. Furthermore, many Swedens wish alternatives to the heat grid.

These were discussed the 10th of March in Knivsta, about 40 km north of Stockholm. With the participation of several different smaller and middle municipalities around Stockholm. Knivsta is a young municipality – only a bit more than ten years old – and will build a rather vast, new eco-district to respond to increasing housing demand in and around Stockholm.


"Help consumers to put down anchillory costs in renting"

Freiburg Future Lab participated at the Colloquium of the French national renters Association in Paris. Input about the renovations in a social housing district in Freiburg, Weingarten. Installing counters to help to divide justly the heating and water costs is good. Even better is to lower heating demands so thoroughly that counters aren't needed any more. Furthermore, a huge renovation project is a good occasion for a massive civic participation that creates links between renters and enforces their bonds, creating a better living atmosphere.


L'autonomie des communes allemandes en matière d'approvisionnement en énergie est en danger

De plus en plus de communes allemandes rachètent leurs réseaux électriques et de chaleur. Cela leur permet de décider, quelles sources d'energies elles favorisent et de favoriser les énergies produites dans la commune ou la région. Un instrument idéal pour la transition énergétique puisque les sources d'energies renouvelables sont différentes selon les lieux et les données locales.
Cette autonomie a été mise en danger par l'autorité qui veille à ce que la concurrence sur les marchés soit loyale. Elle a mise en doute la décision de la commune de Titisee-Neustadt, située près de Freiburg en foret noire, de reprendre les réseaux de la ville avec un fournisseur d'énergie qui n'utilise que des sources renouvelables, la "EWS" (Elektrizitätswerke Schönau), issue d'un mouvement citoyen.
L'autorité de la concurrence a menacée la ville d'une amende de plusieurs millions d'euro pour concurrence déloyale, puisqu'elle avait débouté plusieurs candidats prets à reprendre les réseaux et vendre énergie et chaleur. La ville de Titisee-Neustadt s'est tournée vers la plus haute instance jurisdictionelle du pays, la cour constitutionelle allemande.
Le cas a fait des vagues: De la décision de la cour dépendra comment continuera la transition énergétique en Allemagne: Gérée par les communes et les citoyens, ou par les grandes entreprises. En effet la mise en place de coopératives et de petites entités de production et de revente a rencontrer un grand succès économique pendant les dernières années. D'où une perte de clients pour les grandes compagnies, telles E.ON ou ENBW.

Astrid Mayer


Die koreanische Vereinigung für Forstwirtschaft hat Freiburg besucht - hier in einem Holz- und Pellet-Werk. Es gab Informationen über das Label FSC, den Freiburger Stadtwald, der FSC-zertifiziert ist, und die diversen Verwertungsketten für Holz im Schwarzwald.


Nach einem Besuch in Freiburg fehlte der israelische Delegation der noch der Besuch der Passiv-Hochhäuser.
Dafür haben wir mit Lital Carmel am 8. Juli ein Webinar veranstaltet, das gut besucht war. Nach ein paar technischen Problemen wurde es eine lebhafte Veranstaltung.
Damit ist ein neues Veranstaltungsformat erfolgreich getestet.
Das war kurz vor dem Ausbruch der Kampfhandlungen. Wir wünschen der Region endlich Frieden und allen beteiligten Parteien Kompromissfähigkeit. Für eine gemeinsame und nachhaltige Entwicklung dieser schönen Gegend.



Une émission radio sur les cotés "verts" et écologique de la ville de Freiburg par le journaliste Guy Wach de radio bleue - avec l'équipe de Freiburg Future lab et plein de fotos magnifiques
Émission radio


Seminar zum Thema Bürgerbeteiligung in Luxemburg

Die "Umweltberodung Lëtzebuerg" (Umweltberatung Luxemburg) hat ein Seminar über Bürgerbeteiligung veranstaltet, und wollte sich auch von Projekten in Freiburg inspirieren lassen.
In Workshops zu den Themen "Urban Gardening" und "Windmühlen für unsere Gemeinde" erkundeten die Teilnehmer dann das kreative Potenzial ihrer eigenen Gemeinden.
Und das war erst der Anfang...


Un groupe d'urbanistes et d'élus à Freiburg, accompagné par Freiburg Future Lab et leurs impressions - filmées par l'agence Siam Conseils


Im Vauban-Viertel errichtete Gebäude sind auch der neuesten, ab 2014 geltenden Energie-Sparverordnung noch eine lange Nase voraus, wie dieser Bericht zeigt (beachten Sie das Foto).


Astrid Mayer in einem Artikel der Schweizer Zeitung La Liberté (Fribourg):


Unsere Kollegin Geneviève Zuber hat das Urban Gardening in Freiburg mit initiiert -
hier ein Artikel über die Aktivitäten von "Essbares Rieselfeld"!


Freiburg Future Lab unterstützt die Kampagne des unabhängigen Beauftragten für Fragen des sexuellen Kindesmissbrauches. Für alle Kinder in unserer Gesellschaft ist es wichtig, dass die Erwachsenen vor dem Thema sexuelle Gewalt gegen Kinder die Scheu verlieren, und das Hinsehen und Hinhören lernen. Nur dann wagen Kinder, sich Hilfe zu holen, um den Teufelskreis aus Schweigen, Gewalt und Trauma zu durchbrechen. Hinsehen und Hinhören sind einfacher, wenn man sich informiert. Dazu trägt diese Kampagne bei und deswegen unterstützen wir sie.


Vortrag von Astrid Mayer bei "Duurzaam bowen" in Limburg (Belgien)


Unsere Mitarbeiterin Elsa Gheziel-Neumann ist auf dem Kongress "habitat durable" in Brüssel eingeladen. Sie referiert über Baugruppen – in Freiburg gängige Praxis, in vielen Ländern wird diese Bauweise erst entdeckt.



Freiburg Future Lab supports:

25.-26. Oktober 2012

Local Renewables Freiburg 2012
Cities and regions explore smart grids and smart solutions

The fifth Local Renewables Conference focuses on the combination of locally generated renewable energy, smart grids and smart end-users.
Close cooperation and interconnection between cities and regions is essential in this context.

Freiburg Future Lab participates with a study trip to an energy producing Farm.


Freiburg Future Lab-Mitarbeiter Andreas Delleske bei der Präsentation der Broschüre "Politik für alle Generationen / Lebensqualität in ländlichen Räumen und integrative Stadtpolitik" in Berlin
(Quelle: Bundesregierung / Jesco Denzel)


Internationale Umweltpreisträger besichtigen das Quartier Vauban

Am Freitag, 9. März, hat das Freiburg Future Lab-Team diese sehr engagierten und interessierten Menschen durchs Vauban-Viertel geführt – zwischendurch wurde über die Rettung der Welt diskutiert: Fahrräder für Afrika, Passivhäuser in den Vereinigten Staaten, Strom aus der Wüste, und der Einfluss unseres Wirtschaftssystems auf die Ressourcen und die Mentalitäten der Menschen. Wir wünschen viel Erfolg beim Projekt der Weltrettung!

>>   Der Sonntag, 11.03.2012