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The car-free suburb of the future

Samantha Menzies

This proposed housing development with no roads could be an indicator of what suburbs will look like in the future.

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German architecture firm MVRDR, alongside housing developer Traumhaus, have designed a new car-free neighbourhood for the German city of Mannheim.

The 27,000 square metre residential project, Funari, which is on a former US Army Baracks site, is expected to redefine suburban living through giving residents the affordable suburban lifestyle, with individuality, diversity and community spirit.

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Roads will be replaced with paths and tracks meaning no cars can be parked or driven up to the houses, but there will be an underground car park which also allows emergency vehicle access, according to the Domain Group.

A nearby tram stop is also planned for commuters.

“Essentially the project recreates the park experience on a residential scale, and removing the road allows the park to permeate throughout the site unrestricted,” MVRDR architect Johannes Pilz said.

“By getting rid of the [pavement] barrier between households, you then increase interactions between neighbours, and the community then starts to bond.”

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The architects have created a range of different house and apartment designs for residents to choose from.

As well as the huge public green space, every house has a private garden, for growing vegetables or for children’s play areas.

Mr Pilz says the aim of the project is to show that suburban living doesn’t have to be monotonous or isolated.

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The designers think the development can be a model for other communities in the future.

They want to “show that there is an alternative to low-quality, expensive, and identical housing”, he said.