Barcelona's Answer to a Car-Centric City: Superblocks
When Catalan urban planner Ildefons Cerdà i Sunyer, back in the 1850s, designed the Eixample, the expansion of Barcelona outside the old city walls, he envisioned a city based on community living, where people could interact on wide streets, with a wealth of public and private gardens, and where transportation of people and goods wouldn’t dominate public space.
What Cerdà could not foresee in his plan, approved by the city on 1859, was the arrival of the automobile and the resulting transformation of mobility that took place in the middle of the 20th century.
The Barcelona government, however, has a new plan, which aims to reclaim most of the streets for the community, without reducing traffic flow. The plan is modeled on the original idea of the Eixample, and expands the area into “Super Illes”, the Catalan term for Superblocks.