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What neighborhood to choose in Barcelona?

The new pedestrian friendly superblocks of Barcelona

Written by Thompson Crowley

Architecture and city development plans are constantly changing. With both population and pollution on the rise, different designs and layouts are being thought up to help deal with these issues. If you’re looking for a flat to buy or rent, new options are on the horizon. You too can be a part of this ever-changing world, putting quality of life first.

What’s the problem?

Photo by Francesc_2000 via Visual Hunt

Photo by Francesc_2000 via Visual Hunt

The main issue is with the amount of vehicles traveling within the city. Both air pollution and noise pollution levels are at an all-time high. And it’s also the fact that this traffic shares the space which pedestrians use too. Barcelona has failed to meet the world health organization‘s air quality standards, year in and year out. Over 3000 deaths are thought to be caused by this annually. And there are also many traffic accidents. So, city planners have now been pushed to come up with a solution.

What’s the solution?

The idea of Superblocks was first thought up in 2014. They aim to push cars and buses out from the populated areas to the main thoroughfares of the city. This would mean freeing up the internal space, encouraging walking and cycling as means of transport, thus cutting down on the air pollution. Urban planners hope to double the number of cycle paths, reducing traffic by 21%.

The blocks themselves will be like mini-neighborhoods, bustling with life and creativity. Quality of life will go up as air pollution goes down, and more space for community activities will become available. This will lead to a more eco-friendly environment, with green spaces on the rise.

Where will it start?

Eixample is the first area which will be implementing the plan, this is the most polluted area in Barcelona. There is only a measly 1.85 sq m of green space per person in the district, much less than the recommended 9 sq m. They plan to build 9 superblocks, which will house around 6000 people. Each block will contain 160 municipal squares, thus creating the extra green space needed.

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What are the benefits?

Photo by Stephanie Overton via Visualhunt.com

Photo by Stephanie Overton via Visualhunt.com

Aside from the immediately obvious community benefits, studies show that the health of inhabitants will improve drastically. Just from the lowering of toxic fumes in the air 1200 lives would be spared, creating an extra 5-month life expectancy. They predict there will be 18000 fewer asthma attacks, 12000 less cases of acute bronchitis, and 600 less cardiovascular hospital admissions. Noise levels will also drop dramatically, creating a much less stressful environment. More than 60% of residents currently live amongst levels deemed unhealthy by law.

It can often seem that progress is slow in this world since there are a lot of environmental issues which need addressing. But plans are in action, and soon we’ll see the results. Let’s hope that the Barcelona superblocks serve as an example to the rest of the world.

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About the author

Thompson Crowley

Thompson is a musician from the U.K who fell in love with Barcelona. He is constantly discovering new things in the city, which he shares with the readers through his articles.

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