Living without a car is possible and actually there are so many people getting around by foot, by bike or by public transport all around the world. But there are places where, more than a personal choice, moving around sustainably is a philosophy of life and driving a car is not allowed anymore.

There are carfree cities with a more relaxed life, and that is great!

Mackinac Island, in the U.S. state of Michigan, banned all motor vehicles in 1898 aiming a decrease in noise and environmental pollution. People get around by foot, by bike or by carriage, and snow plough and ambulances are the only vehicles in the city in case of emergency.

Mackinac Island, Michigan, ph. by Franklin B Thompson
Mackinac Island, Michigan, ph. by Franklin B Thompson, via flickr

In Vauban (Germany), a small eco-neighbourhood of Freiburg, citizen’s standard of living is constantly growing and population has increased by 57%.

Motor vehicles have been banned since 2006 and there is just a tram which connects this people-friendly city with the center of Freiburg, a service which is basically used by workers. You can arrive everywhere by foot or by bike equipped for taking your children to school or going shopping.

Vauban, Friburgo, Germany city without cars
Vauban, Friburgo, ph. by Clément Belleudy, via flickr

Also in Italy there are ecological cities to be proud of: Venice, with its bridges and narrow streets, can only be discovered by foot, by bike or thanks to the steamboats going thorough canals and those which link the islands of the Venetian lagoon.

These are just a few examples, but there are more and more cities that are getting green integrating public transport, bike sharing, ferry-boats and trains in order to make people’s life easier, making useless and expensive to have a car. In fact, Helsinki public infrastructure is gradually getting better and could be the first car-free European capital by 2025.

Where there is a will there is a way! Organizing better our time and some further small changes in our daily routines can improve our lives and making them more rewarding. If moving to a car-free city is not in your plans yet you can still do something big! Leave your car at home, take a walk to see autumn colours, ride your bike until you get tired or just relax looking through the window of the train that brings you home.

Helsinki, the heart of Finland, the 2015 will be a city without a car

Helsinki, the heart of Finland, the 2015 will be a city without a car

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Author: Silvia Ombellini

I am an architect with a passion for travel. I think it is urgent to be able to live in harmony with the ecosystem we are part of. After the birth of my second baby, Leo, I began to work at Ecobnb, an adventure undertaken to change the way we travel, to make it more sustainable, respectful of the environment, places and people.
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