This is part one in a five-part series about the comprehensive urban plan being implemented in Barcelona, Spain, which would reclaim more than half the streets now devoted to cars for mixed-use public spaces, or “superblocks.” This reporting project was supported by the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania , where the author, David Roberts, is a senior fellow. Salvador Rueda is gripped by a vision for Barcelona. In his mind’s eye, he sees a city no longer dominated by automobiles. Most streets once devoted to cars have been transformed into walkable, mixed-use public spaces, what he calls “superblocks,” where pedestrians, cyclists, and citizens mix in safety. Each resident has access to their own superblock and can traverse the city to visit the others without the need for, or fear of, motorized private vehicles. It is a utopian vision, nothing any existing major city has achieved, but Rueda may just live to see it come true, or at least some version of it. After years working in city government, Rueda started the Urban Ecology Agency of Barcelona , a public research consortium, in 2000. He’s a noted expert in the field of urbanism, an author […]

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