A plan for superblocks has been implemented in Barcelona, which will transform 7 million square meters previously used for motorized vehicles into open spaces for the community. About 5,000 to 6,000 people are expected to dwell in each 400-by-400-meter superblock. The goal is to reduce pollution rates by 21 percent over the next two years, and will transform 60% of streets used by vehicles into "citizen spaces."
The Guardian's Marta Bausells reports:
"According to several studies, air pollution alone causes 3,500 premature deaths a year in Barcelona’s metropolitan area (with a population of 3.2 million), as well as having severe effects on local ecosystems and agriculture. Barcelona and the 35 municipalities in its surrounding area have persistently failed to meet EU-established air quality targets."
The famous gridded neighborhood of Eixample will be the first area where the plan is implemented. The design was originally developed during the 19th century by Spanish urban designer Ildefons Cerdà to promote a healthy, urban environment. His idea inspired the new "mini neighborhoods" that have been developing in the city at various rates since the plans were drawn in 1987. By continuing this process for a greener existence, 160 intersections will be removed, 200 kilometers of biking lanes will be added, and an orthogonal bus network will encourage the use of public transformation.
Read the full story at The Guardian.