Leipzig has been a trade city since the time of the Holy Roman Empire. The City sits at the intersection of the Via Regia and the Via Imperii, two important medieval trade routes. Leipzig was once one of the major European centers of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing. In the 19th century, Leipzig became a major urban center and one of the richest cities of the German Empire. In the German Democratic Republic, it developed as a center of different industries. Leipzig later became the center of peaceful demonstrations against the communist regime of East Germany.
Since the reunification of Germany, Leipzig has undergone significant change through the restoration of historical buildings and the development of a modern transport infrastructure with a vision for sustainable mobility. Today it is a modern city with large car manufacturing and logistics industries, environmental and biotechnology sectors, universities and research institutions, and a young creative industry sector. The GfK marketing research institute has proclaimed it the most livable city in Germany.
Following the reunification of Germany, Leipzig has undertaken immense efforts to restore and expand its transportation plan and infrastructure. The City has taken measures to expand its public transportation network, and now it has the second-largest in Germany after Berlin. In conjunction with its promotion of public transport, it has also taken steps to limit the presence of cars in the city center.
Leipzig has worked to expand its cycling network and become a more bicycle-friendly city. With the development of a bike-sharing program, larger areas for bicycle parking, and over 436 km of bicycle paths and lanes, Leipzig now has almost 4 times more cyclists on the streets than they did 20 years ago.
Leipzig won the German National Award for Sustainable Cities in 2012 for its quality of life and urban structure. The City also hosted the OECD’s 2015 International Transport Forum.
Leipzig’s development of sustainable transport systems and a strong, pedestrian-friendly city center make it a model for the European compact city. The city center’s dimension is designed to be a pedestrian area and has accommodations for the elderly, with large pedestrian areas, rest zones and a car-reduced system.
Leipzig has discussed issues related to compact city development with its partner city of Kumamoto in a previous exchange. Together the two cities discussed development of the city center and transport planning (particularly pedestrian area expansion, institution of bicycle routes and bike shares, and transit network development). Leipzig looks forward to exchanging experiences related to the concentration of city functions and improving transportation networks with other project cities.
Leipzig has set a plan to reduce CO2 emissions by 10% every 5 years to reach 2.5 tons of CO2 emissions per capita by 2050. One of the ways the City intends to achieve this reduction in emissions is to become a capital of electric mobility. It intends to achieve this through planning for better tram services (handicapped accessibility), better integration of tram tracks in streets, planning for cyclists and pedestrians, car-reduced city centers and pedestrian zones, and speed zones in residential areas. Leipzig is particularly interested in the development of smart mobility systems.
The City has set a complementary goal of reducing trips taken by car by 25% over the next ten years by offering more attractive alternatives.
Leipzig is interested in discussing ways to more effectively reduce its carbon emissions, particularly through the development of sustainable transport systems, with other project cities.