The superblocks of Barcelona have attracted much attention since the idea first picked up speed in 2015. They are a radical new envisioning of public space giving the streets back to pedestrians and bicyclists. The idea of the superblock is to block up to 9 blocks of a typical street plan and convert it to pedestrian-centered space filled with new courtyards, gardens, playgrounds, etc.
It has become “captivating” across the globe were other big cities with large pedestrian populations such as New York and other urban planners and advocates are looking into how they can save their streets from gridlock. Barcelona and others believe this new form of street organization can reduce traffic and air pollution and increase efficiency in city spaces.
However, Barcelona’s superblocks have also become “controversial”. While many people in Barcelona like the increased walkability of their surroundings, other are worried about being further away from bus stops, impacts of their jobs and deliveries, and finding new ways of dealing with their cars. As the New York Times described in 2016 to really be successful “the plan will require a cultural shift in the way people view and use streets.” (Sastre 10/1/2016).
Despite all the controversy people still, have hope and are excited to see the ongoing transformation of Barcelona as a new experiment a new way, and perhaps a better way, of living in the streets.
For more information read this article of New York’s interest in super blocks: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/02/nyregion/what-new-york-can-learn-from-barcelonas-superblocks.html
And watch this Vox video on the basics of the Barcelona Superblocks: https://youtu.be/ZORzsubQA_M