The city of Barcelona, Spain is testing a new method of bringing walkability back to a city with an infrastructure dependent on cars: “superblocks.” In order to create a superblock, nine square blocks of a city are cordoned off from traffic, freight, and buses. Only pedestrians and local vehicles traveling under 10 mph are allowed in the interiors, creating a pedestrian-dominated “mini-village” within the city.
The Barcelona government lists six aims for superblocks: more sustainable mobility, revitalization of public spaces, promotion of biodiversity and urban green, promotion of urban social fabric and social cohesion, promoting self-sufficiency in the use of resources, integration of governance processes.
Superblock implementation is already underway in several Barcelona neighborhoods, and other Spanish cities are testing the concept as well. In the future, Barcelona plans to eliminate curbside parking within its superblocks, which will allow streets to be used for games and cultural activities.