Barcelona to expand superblock model

The city of Barcelona has announced a 10-year plan to reduce car traffic and pollution by expanding its successful superblock model to the city center.

Barcelona’s superblocks are a model of healthier, safer and more sustainable living. Launched in 2016, superblocks are neighbourhoods of nine blocks, where traffic is only allowed around the perimeter and priority is given to pedestrian areas, cycling lanes, and residential green spaces.

Now, Barcelona has announced a 10-year plan to expand its superblocks to the city’s heavily polluted central Eixample district, a grid-street area designed by 19th century engineer Ildefons Cerdà and widely regarded as a blueprint for modern urban living.

Under the new plan, one in three streets in Eixample will become a green zone, offering every resident a square and a green street within 200 metres of their home, according to a press release from the city of Barcelona. The plan calls for 21 new green streets, which will 6.6 hectares of greenery and biodiversity, and 21 new squares at junctions between streets, creating some 3.9 hectares of recreational space for residents.

“The Cerdà plan modernised Barcelona at the end of the 19th century and we are reviving that spirit of urban transformation to bring the Eixample into the 21st century,” Deputy Mayor Janet Sanz said.

The winning designs for the streets and squares will be decided in an open competition. According to an article in The Guardian, the closing date for entries is 17 December. Work on the new superblocks will get underway in 2022 and is expected to cost 36 million euros.

Image credit: Kaspars Upmanis via Unsplash

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