This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

Everyone’s talking about this NYT piece on the almost-carfree German suburb of Vauban. It’s a great article, and worth reading. I want to specifically call out this section:

Vauban, the site of a former Nazi army base, was occupied by the French Army from the end of World War II until the reunification of Germany two decades ago. Because it was planned as a base, the grid was never meant to accommodate private car use: the “roads” were narrow passageways between barracks.

The original buildings have long since been torn down. The stylish row houses that replaced them are buildings of four or five stories, designed to reduce heat loss and maximize energy efficiency, and trimmed with exotic woods and elaborate balconies; free-standing homes are forbidden.

This give me two thoughts. First, the built environment really does stay with us for a long time. It’s much easier to reorient existing street grids to carless living — even if they’re from abandoned army bases — than to adapt new ones.

Second thought: is this a possible future for Sand Point?

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