Will Future Housing Developments be Designed without cars?

A new housing development in the German city of Mannheim is interesting for two reasons: (i) will be relatively affordable and (ii) it is designed to be free of cars, with no roads inside of the development and substituting footpaths and parks for the usual thoroughfares dominated by cars (and parking).

The 27,000 square metre project will be in a new suburb called Funari, which will stand on the site of a former US army barracks. It is being designed by architects MVRDR in cooperation with affordable housing developer Traumhaus. The new suburb will offer housing built to incorporate custom features for individual families and at affordable prices.

Despite the development deliberately excluding the normal accommodations for cars, there will be an  adjacent tram stop and an underground car park for those who really need a car, and the site will allow access to emergency vehicles. However, no cars can be parked or driven directly up to the houses.

The aim of the architects is refocus the project as a large scale park experience instead of the more common experience of residential space being carved up by roads and parking space. The intention is to allow for greater interaction between neighbours and, hopefully, to provide the basis for a strong community.

Another innovative feature of the development is that costs will be kept low while maintaining the possibility of individualised house and apartment designs by being built from standardised components. As well as being a cost factor, the project aims to show that low-cost suburban living doesn’t have to be monotonous or isolated.

The designers are hoping that the development can be a model for other communities in the future.

Photo credit: “www.mvrdv.nl”. Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from MVRDV.


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