ZURICH Many landlords make a point of keeping their properties pet, or maybe smoke-free. But in Switzerland, some new apartment blocks demand that tenants also be car-free.
The issue is currently a subject of debate among politicians in Zurich, where many poeple vigorously oppose the idea. Tages-Anzeiger readers have been battling it out online with hundreds of comments. In the meantime, however, construction has already begun in and around the city on several car-free housing developments where residents will voluntarily -- or not entirely voluntarily -- get along without the comforts of a car.
In the Swiss capital of Bern, a development finished a year ago in the Bümpliz district has 80 tenants, all of whom signed rental contracts agreeing not to keep individual motorized means of transportation where they live.
Resident Katharina Gallizzi told a German TV interviewer that she wasnt giving up anything. On the contrary: Not having a car represents a very high standard of living, she said. Commuting on public transportation gives her time to read. Plus she doesnt have the stress of getting caught in traffic jams. For Gallizzi, the environmental implications are also important: Doing something together for the environment brings people together; its a nice experience.
One of the developers, Günther Ketterer, said he didnt see himself as anti-car and that if somebody needed to drive for some reason or another they could join a mobility scheme.
In Zurich hundreds of tenants will be moving into car-free developments in the next few years. A 250-unit facility called the Kalkbreite development, for example, is already under construction and is set to open in the spring of 2014.
A second Zurich development scheduled for completion in 2016, with 94 apartments, is in the planning stages and may well be built without parking space. In Leutschenbach, also in Zurich, another development of 450 apartments is going up with reduced parking possibilities only 106 spaces will be built. In another development, local authorities actually opposed the developers plans for 131 parking spaces, and authorized only 66.
Read the full story in German by Simon Eppenberger
*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations