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EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article23 November 2020Barcelona1 min read

Barcelona to expand its car-free ‘superblocks’ to city centre district

The city of Barcelona has announced a major expansion of its ‘superblocks’ initiative, as part of a 10-year plan to reduce car dependence and cut pollution. The project will take place in the central Eixample district.

The concept of superblocks, introduced in Barcelona in 2016, has been influential in cities around the world. The scheme brought together nine city blocks and transformed them into a so-called ‘supermanzana’, from the Spanish word for a street block (manzana), where traffic is only allowed around the perimeter and priority is given to pedestrian areas, low-speed zones (where speed is limited to 10 km/h) and recreational green spaces.

The City Council announced in early November that the ‘supermanzana’ will serve as the inspirational basis of a new plan which will give more space over to residents, pedestrians and greenery. However, this time the plan sets a longer-term vision, which will hopefully engender a new understanding of living in the city.

The plan envisions the conversion of 21 streets, one in every three streets in the central district, into green axes focused on biodiversity and slow mobility as well as the creation of 21 new small squares or plazas for community socialising. This will mean that each Eixample resident will live at a distance of no more than 200 metres from a green axis or square. When the works are completed, it is expected that this will free up 33.4 hectares of extra space for pedestrians.

The project, expected to begin in 2022, will probably prove more difficult to implement than those installed in quieter areas. The city authorities are working now on public engagement and co-creation processes where people are asked for ideas on what these public spaces should look like.

In addition to this announcement, the city declared a climate emergency in January 2020 and introduced southern Europe’s largest low-emissions zone, covering 95 square kilometres. Tree planting and construction of cycle lanes is also being accelerated. In fact, since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, Barcelona has created 29 kilometres of cycle lanes and eliminated 1,300 parking spaces.

Original article published by on 11 November 2020



Publication date
23 November 2020
  • Urban Vehicle Access Regulations
  • Spain