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Image for Autofrei, 'car-free' eco-village in Vienna (15 images)

Autofrei, 'car-free' eco-village in Vienna (15 images)

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Surrounded by the Danube, the green zone of Autofrei has its own doses of salads, bikes, 'parkour' and even caddies in places of cars. French photographer Anne-Lore Mesnage goes east of the Austrian capital to a member organisation of the world car-free network

This image gallery is part of’s 2010-2011 feature focus on Green Europe; read the full set of city special editions

Setting off

En route to the neighbourhood of Autofrei, east of Vienna.The capital is vast and dotted with numerous green spaces; it's almost like being in the countryside with its wheat fields and various crops (Image: ©Anne-Lore Mesnage)

Getting there

Autofrei viewed from the countryside (Image: ©Anne-Lore Mesnage)

Salad time

Market gardeners prepare organic baskets; their allotment means they can create twenty such parcels a week (Image: ©Anne-Lore Mesnage)

City rat

Autofrei viwed from Nordmanngasse, home to more than 500 residents. City and countryside can be seen on either side. (Image: ©Anne-Lore Mesnage)


Whilst this garden in Autofrei looks a bit overgrown, usually it's down to the residents to see to its care. Professional gardeners are only called in to work on specific issues (Image: ©Anne-Lore Mesnage)

Flourishing bikes

A popular form of transport in this area (Image: ©Anne-Lore Mesnage)

Ping-pong between plants and concrete

Each resident has access to a sports hall, and another has ensured a fitness hall has been created so that everyone can freely access activities in the natural environment (Image: ©Anne-Lore Mesnage)

Face to earth

The Autofrei building was constructed in 1991 thanks to the initiative of Christoph Chorherr, one of Austria's green politicians (Image: ©Anne-Lore Mesnage)


Parkour is performed at the front entrance of a garage in Autofrei. Only one car sits inside; it's shared by all of the residents (Image: ©Anne-Lore Mesnage)

Who needs a vehicle?

A man is moving out, but without the use of a car. These are nowhere to be seen in Autofrei. Caddies prove indispensable substitutes, especially considering the narrow streets (Image: ©Anne-Lore Mesnage)

Flowery heights

Getting flower pots up to the appartment (Image: ©Anne-Lore Mesnage)

Younger generation have different ideas

Ironically for a car-free zone though, the children in this neighbourhood play with electric cars (Image: ©Anne-Lore Mesnage)

Free in spirit

Simon, 2, and his brother, play barefoot in Autofrei. His parents have lived in this zone for a decade. His father Johannes says that he loves taking shared transport - he spends two hours a day travelling - and adds that it's a privileged thing to do where he is able to think peacefully and find himself (Image: ©Anne-Lore Mesnage)

Stephan Fickl

Stephan was elected by the locals to manage the zone. Everyone can walk across his balcony on his appartment, and there's even a fridge on it. His wife came up with the idea of cooking for the people who lived alone in the residence and who didn't feel motivated enough to cook for themselves. She puts tupperware boxes in the fridge and everyone is free to serve themselves as long as they put a small contribution to cover the ingredients she has used. Today there's a post-it on the fridge, indicating that Stephen's wife is taking some days off, and opening it, the fridge is empty (Image: ©Anne-Lore Mesnage)

The mother ship

Not far from Autofrei, the Danube, Europe's second longest river after the Volga (Image: ©Anne-Lore Mesnage)

Translated from Autofrei, le village d’où Vienne(nt) les instincts écolos