"Superblocks are Cerdà's Plan of the twenty-first century"


"Superblocks are Cerdà's Plan of the twenty-first century"

Metrópoli Abierta

Salvador Rueda leads the Urban Ecology Agency of Barcelona, from where he has devised the superblocks project that the Barcelona's City Council intends to implement throughout the city. Rueda has a degree in Biology and Psychology and holds a degree in Environmental Engineering and Energy Management, studies focused on the design of cities. The system of superblocks was designed 30 years ago and since then he has been developing and improving it. That is why he is hurt by the criticism he receives and speaks excitedly of what he pretends to be the model change of the city.


How did you come up with the  'superblocks'?

In 1986 I was appointed environment technician in Barcelona and in 1987 we made the noise map of the city. Once the diagnosis was made, we had to work out the plan to reduce noise. We realized that noise works with a law that is all or nothing. If cars pass, it is always above the limits of communication, 65 decibels. This implies that if you have a person a meter away, the conversation is 100% intelligible without having to raise your voice when levels are below 65 decibels. To have acceptable levels of noise we must have neighborhood streets. Then it occurred to me that to manage this variable there could be made avenues for the traffic to circulate and release as much space as possible. This idea was captured in the first plan. We were in 1987, when the car was the king and all the messages were linked to the economic growth and the linkage of the automobile industry with the country. We weren't and we aren't against the cars. What we are against is an inappropriate, abusive and inefficient use of the car.


More information (in Spanish): Metrópoli Abierta