2024·06 conference “Variations of the Grid. Multiscale evaluation of new pedestrian streets in the Eixample grid of Barcelona”


“Variations of the Grid. Multiscale evaluation of new pedestrian streets in the Eixample grid of Barcelona”

14th International Space Syntax Symposium · Nicosia

Over the past decade, the necessary responses to the urban climate crisis and the application of new models of proximity have promoted the re-design of public spaces towards a more pedestrian-friendly vision. Cities like Barcelona have gained international prominence after the conceptualization, implementation, and dissemination of the so-called “superblock” model. Beyond the local political and social discussion that has arisen both in the ideation and in the construction phase, these transformations have strongly impacted the layout of the Eixample Cerdà grid, by changing the section of some streets. Indeed, these re-urbanizations might be regarded as the crystallization of a wider plan aimed at promoting the progressive pacification of some streets of the grid, to provide more space for pedestrians, greenery, and calm activities. This has been built upon the idea of banning through traffic and the extensive implementation of shared surfaces.

In the following paper, we present an evaluation of the spatial configuration of these transformations at different scales. Firstly, we compare the general vision of the plan with the Betweenness Centrality (local and global values) of the street network of the whole Barcelona metropolis, observing correlations with the planned new pedestrian areas. The second part of the research provides a zoom-in analysis of the sidewalk configuration of Consell de Cent Street, one of the latest re-urbanizations. The research uses visibility graph analysis to compare the spatial attributes before and after the transformation, thus highlighting the impact of the change in the movement patterns and the new distribution of convex spaces within that particular area of the Eixample Grid.