A revolutionary—but little known—urban plan now unfolding in Barcelona is gaining international visibility thanks to the investigative reporting of Kleinman Center Senior Fellow David Roberts. The plan has the potential to make Barcelona the first major city designed for car-less urban life.
Roberts’s reporting, which debuted in Vox last month, was supported by the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. Bolstered by a recent $30 million Campaign gift, the five-year-old Center is one of the nation’s premier hubs for energy policy research. And Roberts, one of the nation’s foremost energy journalists, is among a diverse roster of Kleinman Center researchers, fellows, and faculty whose work is pointing the way to innovative new energy solutions.
Roberts’s five-part article is an on-the-ground look at Barcelona’s implementation of its superblock project, which aims to create 500 walkable, mixed-use public spaces.
Once complete, the city’s project will reclaim close to 70 percent of urban land that is currently devoted to cars. “The streets will become public space, open for a variety of uses, from sports to concerts to simple gathering space,” said Roberts. Public transit, biking options, and walking paths will replace cars as primary means of transportation.
One of the most significant impacts of the paradigm-shifting project will be a decrease in car-generated greenhouse gasses that have contributed to climate change. Improved air quality, less noise pollution, and better quality of life are additional benefits.
Roberts’s engaging series has thrust the superblock project onto the global stage and, true to the mission of the Kleinman Center, is giving a world-wide audience an inspiring look at what our energy future could hold.
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