The superblock urban model reclaims the streets, and
spaces of Barcelona for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.
Car-centric design of cities is no longer viable.
Urban models for the future advocate strengthening of networks of public spaces that can be used effectively throughout different seasons. The current Covid-19 crisis has reinforced the vital role that public places play in bringing people together and promoting wellbeing.
We analysed the building blocks of Barcelona that are grouped to form 400m by 400m car-free ‘superblocks’, encouraging greenery, public interventions, community use and social interactions. Pedestrianised districts support local economies, provide continuous active frontages, promote wellbeing and support communities.
Barcelona's example demonstrates that the public realm plays a vital role in shaping shared identity and the collective consciousness of communities. The feeling of belonging comes from; sharing of public spaces, parks, buildings, facilities, and cafes, supporting local artists, musicians and venues, and celebrating local history and local heroes.
Arguably, local urban identity in some contexts is stronger than national or ethnic identity; its inclusive nature makes our cities vibrant and thriving.