How to use the Barcelona superblock concept for community and sustainability


How to use the Barcelona superblock concept for community and sustainability

Cities of the future

Recent articles have featured Barcelona's initiative to transform its car-dominated grid into a people-centric network. One illustrated the nature of the transformation and a second heralded the start of its implementation. These events mark a major city planning milestone, which has implications beyond Barcelona: They signal the beginning of a systematic approach to remodeling metropolitan areas everywhere with the intent to redress the imbalance among mobility modes. Moreover, they validate approaches for shaping new districts to achieve a movement system, which is inherently well-balanced. This article describes such a system: it incorporates and extends the principles underpinning Barcelona's transformation to the design of street networks on undeveloped land. 


The need to transform existing metros, and especially their overcrowded centers, became pressing in the 1960s; an inevitable outcome following 50 years of motorization in cities that were built at a time when auto-mobility was simply inconceivable. Sporadic responses that followed included cities closing streets to cars; declaring specific districts exclusive for pedestrians; redistributing traffic flows and removing highways from central areas or redirecting through-traffic to underground tunnels. All these case-by-case changes nurtured an appreciation for the vast improvement in the quality of the daily city experience, the heightened sociability and the intensified economic activity. In turn, this new appreciation generated greater demand for spaces and places endowed with these qualities.


More information: Cities of the Future