In recent years, Barcelona has begun to implement a radical new plan to address the problems of excessive pollution, noise, and a lack of quality public space by converting a major portion of its streets to public spaces.

Salvador Rueda, Director of the Urban Ecology Agency of Barcelona, spoke at UBC’s Robson Square on February 1, about Barcelona’s bold plan to create superilles (superblocks). This plan will reduce traffic by 21% and restrict vehicles to a number of perimeter roads. This will drastically reduce noise and pollution, and free up nearly 60% of streets currently used by cars by turning them into spaces for people.

Rueda visited UBC Vancouver in early February to participate in a SEEDS Sustainability project with UBC Campus and Community Planning and the students from the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP).

In his introduction to the talk, Gerry McGeough, Director of Planning and Design at UBC explained that the initiative involves partners from academia, operations and groups off campus who engage with UBC’s neighbourhoods, facilities, and social programs as a living lab for sustainability best practices.

The event was co-sponsored by DIALOG, and UBC Robson Square.