Barcelona’s city center is evolving!

The idea’s first introduction was in 1987 by the director of environmental services of Barcelona, Salvador Rueda. He is now director of the Urban Ecology Agency of the city. It was a few years later, in 1993 that the first “Supermanzana” was born in the district of Ciutat Vella in order to open new possibilities towards Gracia & Poblenou, followed by Hostafrancs, Sant Antoni and Corts. Taking into consideration the Macià Plan designed during the 1930s by Josep Lluís Sert and Le Corbusier, the modernization of Barcelona was thought to be a new version of their ideas, making it better and more efficient. However, there’s a temporary problem of being under construction. But the outcome of this new project is certain to be as successful as it was when New York City changed the way of arranging Broadway.

They make this new project’s choice based on 4 main points:
  • Less traffic
  • Less atmospheric pollution
  • Fill the city with public spaces
  • Give the streets back to the citizens

From that point, the city was set to become an organization of 503 blocks of different sizes. This allowed the city to have the equivalent of 700 football fields of free spaces. With this in mind, the city would become a lot more peaceful, reducing traffic by 21% in city center. To back the project, health reasons rose to the public, to show how bad the environmental pollution is in Barcelona. There were 700 premature deaths in the city and more 3.500 in the metropolitan area.

barcelona supermanzanas

However, citizens are afraid that those blocks are not useful everywhere in the city, and would actually destroy the economy of small businesses. Especially in the area of Poblenou, where there’s little to no need for such blocks because of a much lower traffic in this zone of Barcelona. The debate is torn between political agendas and environmental questions. And even if it worked for some part of New York, people in Barcelona are not sure of the real impact of such important modifications in the city.

Will Barcelona become a huge organized block? Only time will tell…

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