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If you imagine a typical American city street, and you take away the space that's dedicated
to cars, you aren't left with very much.
There are some narrow walkways on the side, and some bridges in between them, but not
much else.
Cars dominate cities.
Spend some time walking around most cities and you'll find yourself pushed to narrow
sidewalks, waiting for crosswalk lights.
You'll find cyclists navigating really narrow strips of space.
Americans are used to cars the way that fish are used to water.
That's so ubiquitous in the U.S. that I think for most people, it just never occurred
to them that it could be otherwise.
But what if there were a way to change that?
To give space back to pedestrians and bicyclists, and to make cities more friendly to life outside
of a car?
It turns out Barcelona might have a solution.
In 2014, the city was faced with serious air pollution problems.
Barcelona and its 35 surrounding municipalities consistently failed to meet the EU's air
quality targets.
Studies were showing that air pollution in the region causes 3,500 premature deaths every
year.
Traffic in the city also causes severe noise pollution.
So the city developed an extensive Urban Mobility Plan with the hope of reducing traffic by
21 percent.
The coolest part of the plan
were these things:
They call them "superilles".
Superilles?
“Si, superilles.”
That translates to “superblocks”.
It's this urban design concept intended to minimize the presence of cars in city centers.
The word “superblock” has been used before to describe huge city blocks without any passageways
for cars.
But that's not what's happening here.
So here's how Barcelona's plan works.
You take nine square city blocks and close off the inside to through traffic.
So buses, big freight trucks — or any vehicles that are trying to get from one part of town
to the next — have to drive around the perimeter.
Inside the superblock, the speed limit is kept to 10 kilometers per hour — that translates
to just over 6 miles per hour — and curbside parking is replaced by underground parking.
That means you wind up with street space for markets, outdoor games, and events.
Within this nine square block perimeter you're gonna have kind of a pleasant streetscape
where people can walk around and mingle and do things without this kind of constant fear
of cars around.
The concept is going to be tested out in five neighborhoods, but the city has identified
120 possible intersections throughout the region where it could be implemented.
So how do we know what the results of this kind of plan would look like?
Well, northwest of Barcelona is a city called Vitoria-Gasteiz, which has implemented superblock
designs since 2008.
In the main superblock at the city center, pedestrian space increased from 45 percent
of the total surface area to 74 percent.
With so much less traffic, noise levels dropped from 66.5 dBA to 61 dBA.
Most impressive of all, there was a 42% reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions and a 38% reduction
in particle pollution in the area.
On top of that, business is up.
What you consistently see when people change their streetscapes to prioritize human beings
over cars is you don't see any decline in economic activity, you see the opposite.
You get more people walking and cycling around more slowly, stopping more often patronizing
businesses more, and that … center of social activity will tend to build on itself.
So here's the question: could something like this work in an American city?
Barcelona has some unique advantages getting started on this plan, in that a lot of it
was built before cars, and a lot of it was built on a simple grid.
The district of Eixample — where the superblock plan is based — was designed in 1859
in this repetitive grid structure by this guy, Ildefons Cerdá.
He basically invented the word for (and the study of) “urbanization” when he laid out this
grid plan for Barcelona that evenly distributed resources like schools and hospitals.
But superblock designers insist that cities don't need a simple grid structure
to implement this kind of plan.
It can work anywhere.
Now, cities in the US have have attempted some car-minimizing projects like this.
The problem is, they're usually done in wealthier areas with lots of existing businesses.
Zoning policies often require separation of residential and commercial areas — but an
ideal walkable area would be a mix of the two.
On top of that, zoning minimums on parking availability encourage the presence of cars
and parking lots, and minimums on street width make for wide, unwalkable streets.
Because of that, walkable districts are basically isolated luxury items in the US.
What makes the Barcelona plan different is that they aren't setting aside one fancy
neighborhood or town square to make pedestrian-friendly
— instead, by proposing superblocks throughout
the entire city, they've declared car-free spaces a right for everybody, no matter what
part of town they're in.
Maybe — this might be overly optimistic — but I think it has sunk in in the U. S. that the model whereby
every city resident comes with a car — and drives a car everywhere – is just inherently limited.
It limits the growth of your city, it limits the health of your city and the growth of your city.
So one way or another we have to find ways of having a lot of people live close to one another without all of
them having cars.
You know, being able to get around and work and play in live and have enjoyable lives without cars.
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巴塞隆納的 Superblocks 計畫,減少城市中的汽車 (Superblocks: How Barcelona is taking city streets back from cars)

5437 分類 收藏
Samuel 發佈於 2018 年 4 月 21 日
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