Superblocks

A sustainable strategy for regenerating the city.

superblock
(Image by Ajuntament de Barcelona)

 

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.
What is a superblock?
This is a territorial unit that is smaller than a neighbourhood but bigger than a residential block, with calm streets where urban planning and environmental activities are held. Compact, efficient areas, that have a positive effect on the life of Barcelona residents and which are also self-sufficient in terms of energy consumption. The aim is to improve the quality of life and conditions for local residents, by rationally managing natural resources and public spaces, through the active participation of everyone involved and by fighting inequality and social exclusion.
What is going on in these superblocks?

  1. More sustainable mobility: by integrating the new Orthogonal Bus Network and Bicing in accordance with Barcelona’s Urban Mobility Plan, encouraging journeys on foot and by bicycle and improving the distribution of goods, in order to reduce both noise levels and emissions.
  2. Revitalising public areas: by making the streets quieter, increasing the number of recreational areas and promoting new uses for these places.
  3. Fostering biodiversity and urban vegetation: by improving the trees in the streets, favouring microhabitats in order to attract birds and increasing the amount of urban vegetation by creating new community areas
  4. Fostering the city’s social fabric and promoting cohesion: by guaranteeing appropriate local facilities, encouraging productive activities that create jobs and working for social inclusion.
  5. Promoting self-sufficiency in the use of resources: by reducing consumption, producing renewable energy, decreasing the demand for drinking water and making better use of greywater and river water.
  6. Integrating governance processes: by involving the general public when defining projects and developing actions.

The five superblocks have been sketched out in Les Corts, Hostafrancs, Eixample, Poblenou and in the area around Glòries.
The Les Corts superblock is one which has progressed the furthest. The zone is delimited by Travessera de Les Corts, Gran via de Carles III, Avinguda de Madrid and Riera Blanca. In this area, work has already been carried out on public spaces, with micro-urbanisation around Carrer de Benavent. The finishing touches are also being made to a crossroads that uses smart traffic lights.
The other superblocks are located in Hostafrancs (delimited by Carrer de Tarragona, Creu Coberta – Sants and Sants railway station), the Eixample (the area between the streets of París, Tarradelles/Tarragona, Gran Via and Urgell/Calabria), the new Plaça de les Glòries (the streets of Aragó, Castillejos, Tànger and Badajoz-Independència), and Poblenou (the area delimited by the streets of Bilbao, Pallars, Llacuna, Tànger and Avinguda Diagonal).

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