Imagine if you drew a line around a residential part of a city and closed it to all traffic, except for residents and service and emergency vehicles. Onehunga tried something similar this year on a
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Imagine if you drew a line around a residential part of a city and closed it to all traffic, except for residents and service and emergency vehicles. Onehunga tried something similar this year on a very small scale and all hell broke loose.
Barcelona did it in 2016 with its first "superblock". Nine city blocks had their roadways narrowed. Trees were planted. The speed limit for the vehicles that could come in was 10km/h and they had to give way to pedestrians.
There were howls of protest. Of course there were. But six more superblocks have since been introduced, including one around the Sant Antoni covered market. The scheme is so popular that Barcelona now plans to superblock its entire central-city grid.
That's 503 blocks, with 6.6 hectares more shade cover from new trees and an extra 33.4 ha for pedestrians. Streets repurposed as parks, while the arterial routes go around.
Mayor Ada Colau has invited citizens to "think of the new city for the present and the future — with less pollution, new mobility and new public space". Including, according to the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, 667 fewer premature deaths from air pollution and other factors, every year.
Hey Phil Goff, what about it?
Design for Living is a Canvas magazine series presenting bright ideas for making cities better.