Beautiful natural scenery, spectacular views of ponds and rivers home to many birds, vast green areas free of cars to play, jog, picnic, or lay down, reduced noise and sport facilities, all of this to be found 10 min away from your front door and in a maxim 20 min reach of the city center.
For many cities the previous description can match only luxurious residential developments for an exclusive group that can pay “the right” to enjoy these amenities. This image was precisely a justification for urban sprawl in the past years.
In addition to the description in the first paragraph, it is relevant to mention that the distances could easily be reached by public transport and other sustainable transport modes.
This situation is not exceptional in cities raking high in quality of living. The description suits an average neighborhood where these amenities are available for most of the population. More interesting is the fact that mobility is not relaying on private vehicles, but in more sustainable modes that ensure accessibility to the people.
In many German cities, this is the case. In Frankfurt for instance (ranks 7th on the Mercer’s Quality of Living Rankings) it is noteworthy that 64% of the population commute in modes other than car to work. 32% commute by public transport due to a great transport network coverage (3.1 km per square meter, the average for all European cities is only 2.4 km) and 32% bike or walk to their destination.
Frankfurt surface is shaped by remarkable 52% of green areas, including The GreenBelt (also known as GrünGürtel accounts for ⅓ of the overall city area), parks and municipal forest, among others. It has a variety of landscapes and a wide range of natural species. 80% of the population lives no further than 300 metres from a green area measuring at least 10,000 m2
The city is a vibrant place. Frankfurt is an economic agglomeration with over 44,000 businesses and about 490,000 jobs. The population has been increasing, demanding more housing and services. During 1999 to 2009 the population grew by 5.2%, while residential areas (built-up areas, commercial areas and traffic areas) increased only by 2.7%. Noteworthy is the fact that there was a 16.5% increase in leisure areas and new green spaces came into being as former industrial or military areas were converted. Read more here
Frankfurt stands for a high quality of living, providing high level infrastructure, recreational facilities, implementing green policies, granting accessibility and mobility for all.
This example illustrates the importance of shaping sustainable cities that provide the elements that guarantee a good quality of life for the population. Green areas, sustainable transportation, compact developments and recreational offers are only some elements but they cannot to be overlooked.