Planning inexpensive transform Barcelona

15/08/2016

The City Council will begin soon to transform mobility Eixample with the deployment of so-called superblocks, a kind of small cities within the city, which should free up space for citizens at the expense of cars. Actually affected areas are three districts and five districts, but the council is aware that the success or failure of the new design will largely depend on the impact it has on the Cerdà.
It is planning low cost -s'han budgeted 10 million to start the desplegament- high intensity to transform Barcelona into a city more pleasant for residents and more attractive for knowledge-intensive companies, those that make the new economy.
The implementation will be staggered so. In the first phase, interventions are primarily road and only need painting and signals: one touch and speed limits will change the directions of movement. In terms of traffic these actions define two types of streets, a basic network that input will keep the current characteristics and one local who happens to be for the use of residents and vehicles which are access and use is subject to the progress of pedestrians. In practice, the cars lose surface for people not motorized. "Rescues public space belongs to everyone and we recover our status as citizens and not only pedestrians," says Janet Sanz, fourth deputy mayor and head of the areas of ecology, urban mobility and the council.
The effects will be felt quickly. The measure will change the way people relate to the city, but also serve to respond to major urban challenges such as air and noise pollution, road accidents, lack of green areas, accessibility, inequalities between districts or sedentary people. "The planning, which sometimes has been arrogant, this is an instrument of the people," says Sanz.
In this first phase of actions the City called "tactical urbanism," which means that actions will be temporary, reversible, with one intention and experimental low cost. As mentioned, the initial budget that the City Council are allocated is about 10 million. And 25 million would be enough for the full deployment throughout the urban domain, as calculated Salvador Rueda, intellectual father of superblocks at home and Director of the Urban Ecology Agency (BCNecologia), a consortium City council, the council and the Metropolitan area of Barcelona. "It will project the world's largest urban recycling without throwing a house or land!" Says Rueda.
The deployment throughout the city is important to avoid distortions that lead surely the fact that there are privileged areas for the benefits of change and others do not.
The second phase would require more resources to change the asphalt sidewalks and put aside other more costly structural urban transformations, which can be made when there is economic strength and when the citizen wants to know what to space to win .
In fact, before you do anything the City has opened lines of dialogue with residents, organizations and groups of chosen areas. The aspect that interests them is to involve citizens in defining the use given to new areas, where extreme are confident that says Sanz- according to the experiences that the city has on the closure of streets traffic is positive regarding the use that the citizen does: "When you do not pass cars, people fill the streets and things happen," said the councilor.
The model developed by the superblocks BCNecologia, which is the basis of the proposal of the City Council, discusses the restoration of civil rights, five in total: the exchange, the expression and participation, culture and knowledge the recreation, leisure and travel and residence (which is practically the only one now). The idea is that within each superblock, citizens can exercise these rights due to the new supply of public space.
Currently, priority streets for pedestrians, boulevards and avenues cover an area of 230 hectares and is concentrated mainly in Old Town and Grace. The implementation of the superblocks would represent a 270% increase this figure and reach 852 hectares distributed throughout the city. In relative terms, the pedestrian would have to spend 45% of public space to 70%.
Special mention require the crossroads of Eixample. The confluence of the streets inside a superblock drawn four large-scale public places for the enjoyment of citizens, which will become a symbol of the conquest of the public space. Barcelona will have 170 new spaces of 2,000 square meters.
No one escapes the importance of what is proposed, however, is not starting from scratch, there are precedents. In general, the pacification streets in Barcelona has been a success story. He was with pioneering Portal de l'Angel, who at first had a strong opposition and is now one of the most important shopping streets in Europe. And then followed the historical old town villas that make up the city today. More specifically, the philosophy of superblocks was applied for the first time in Grace in 2003 and after this experience was collected in the Urban Mobility Plan 2013-2018 and the 2011-2015 program superblock of the previous municipal government.
L'Eixample
The superblocks again highlighted the versatility of the urban design that Ildefons Cerda. In fact superblocks are consistent with the original philosophy that had brought great planner but to a larger scale, specifically each of the new areas would be a square formed by three blocks from the side, about 400 meters away. The streets exterior configure basic network so cars can drive at 50 km / h, while the inner streets will be the local network, so Salvador Rueda thinks that vehicles should not be able to move more than 20 km / h at an early stage or more than 10 km / h in a second, this is what urban planning terms are known peace.
The configuration of the superblocks not been made taking into account the needs of motorists but the public transport bus and specifically that the network octagonal anticipated the arrival of superblocks. Moreover, the intersections of the basic network of streets will be reserved for parking and loading and unloading rotation.
Studies show that these measures traffic in the city of Barcelona will be reduced to 11%. Recall that the Urban Mobility Plan sets a minimum reduction of 21% in order to achieve the objectives of reducing pollution that marks the WHO. This means you need to perform additional actions. In the metropolitan area are recorded every year about 3,500 premature deaths related to pollution problems. BCNecologia studies predict that the population exposed to acceptable levels of air quality to go from 56.2% today to 93.9%. And 57.5% to 73.5%, in the case of noise pollution.
The new facilities also allow an increase green spaces in the city someday might actually be the establishment of natural corridors. Janet Sanz for the deployment of superblocks justifies the decision to unite in a single mayoral tenure areas of ecology, urbanism and mobility.
An engine to attract talent
The director of BCNecologia dreams of a city where children can go walking or cycling to school without fear of an accident; and when you leave, you can plant portfolios in the street to play and goals. Imagine that one day the cars that pass through the interior of an island must wait for the game of children interrupted and only then resume walking. In fact, Salvador Rueda has this dream since 1987 when, as director of the Environment of the City of Barcelona, designed a map of the city noise. "I saw that the only solution is to reduce noise pollution that cars do not go," he said. Then he discovered that Le Corbusier had proposed an urban intervention similar to the superblocks plan Macia. Rueda is clear that the superblocks must be the instrument to place Barcelona in a position of global leadership. Improving the quality of life must be the engine to attract companies and professionals to develop knowledge-intensive activity.