A breath of fresh air: rise of the superblocks


A breath of fresh air: rise of the superblocks

Thinking Cities

Barcelona and the 39 municipalities around it account for only 2.3 per cent of Catalonia’s total area but for 60 per cent of the region’s population, about 4 million inhabitants. It is one of the most economically powerful urban areas in the Mediterranean, producing about 65 per cent of the Catalan GDP. With its concentration of population, economic activity and mobility, and the presence of large logistics infrastructures, together with certain constraints of orography, climate and urban structure, the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2and suspended particulate matter (PM10) in the conurbation of Barcelona regularly exceed some of the thresholds legislated by the EU. A specific feature of the agglomeration of Barcelona, which impacts on air quality, is its land use model and street and building typologies. The city of Barcelona and the surrounding towns have a high population and vehicle density, concentrating pollutant emissions in a small area.


The other factor that complicates the pollution problem in Barcelona and its surroundings is the type of inner-city urban development, with narrow streets and relatively high buildings, making it more difficult for pollutants to be dispersed by the wind and natural air currents.
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