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Friday, August 12, 2016

Taking City Streets Back From Cars

Superblocks: How Barcelona Is Taking City Streets Back from Cars

David Roberts | August 4, 2016

Modern cities are ruled by cars. Streets are designed for them; bikers, pedestrians, vendors, hangers-out, and all other forms of human life are pushed to the perimeter in narrow lanes or sidewalks. Truly shared spaces are confined to parks and the occasional plaza. This is such a fundamental reality of cities that we barely notice it any more.
Some folks, however, still cling to the old idea that cities are for people, that more common space should be devoted to living in the city rather than getting through it or around it.
But once you’ve got a city that’s mostly composed of street grids, devoted to moving cars around, how do you take it back? How can cities be reclaimed for people?

"The development of the superblocks model, with the proposed pacification of the inner roads and conversion of the streets in single platform in its final phase of implementation, will correct widely the problems of accessibility and comfort of sidewalks and pedestrian areas." Source:
"Nine blocks in Barcelona’s Eixample district will make up a ‘superblock’, the city’s new strategy for sustainability." (That revolutionary design, engineered by Ildefons Cerdà in the late 19th century, had at its core the idea that the city should breathe and – for both ideological and public health reasons – planned for the population to be spread out equally, as well as providing green spaces within each block. Reality and urban development have, however, got the best of it, and as the grid lines became choked with cars, the city’s pollution and noise levels have skyrocketed. What was once a design to make Barcelona healthier, now has to be dramatically rethought for the same reasons.) Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (Urban Mobility Plan of Barcelona PMU 2013-2018. October 2014) and (Superblocks. A sustainable strategy for regenerating the city. 2015-2016. ["Superilles, or Superblocks in English, is a project designed by Barcelona City Council in collaboration with the Urban Ecology Agency that aims to foster sustainable mobility, the intensive use of public spaces, biodiversity, social cohesion involving the participation of the general public, a reduced ecological footprint and, in short, which enhances the human dimension of the city. This will all be achieved by promoting a new type of urban organisation in five macro-areas specially chosen for the experiment."])>

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