National Links: Barcelona’s 10 Year Superblock Plan

Every day at The Overhead Wire, we collect news about cities and send the links to our email list. At the end of the week we take some of the most popular stories and post them to Greater Greater Washington, a group blog similar to that focuses on urban issues in the D.C. region. They are national links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.

Barcelona’s 10 year plan for superblocks: The city of Barcelona in Spain has released an ambitious 10 year plan to reclaim streets from cars through the creation of more space for people in superblocks. One in three streets in the Eixample District will become green zones and 21 intersections will become public squares. The plan is an attempt to reduce pollution in the city and give priority to pedestrians and cyclists. (Stephen Burgen | The Guardian)

Reimagining the street with bus lanes: Bus lanes on streets not only reduce commute times but also lower carbon emissions. They are also low-tech and low cost compared to the alternatives. Over the last three decades, bus ridership has declined as travel times have slowed but focusing on giving buses thier own space could reduce that trend. While a single general purpose lane can cary 1,600 people per hour, buses in dedicated lanes can transport up to 8,000.  (Henry Hintermeister | US PIRG)

The professional streetery builders: As the pandemic continues and more restaurants try to figure out how to serve thier customers, outdoor dining spaces have become the best way to continue service. New York’s streeteries as these pop up spots are called, now have businesses and designers that specialize in building these curbside dining platforms which can range from $5,000 to $25,000. (Valeria Ricciulli | Curbed)

Inheritance is now the main route to housing: For the last four decades, home prices have been rising much more than wages. Middle class status used to be about the job you had but now it’s the house you can afford. And inheritance is the only way young people can afford housing in many world cities as prices gradually move out of reach. (Lisa Adkins | The Guardian)

The future of batteries is weightless and invisible: Material scientists from Imperial College London are challenging manufacturers in their approach to battery technology. In rethinking the energy needs of the future, we also need to rethink the design of vehicle batteries. While now they are shaped like tubes and bricks, the next generation of battery will use the structures they are attempting to power eventually leading to reduced weight and greater flexibility. (Daniel Oberhaus | Wired Magazine)

Vanya Srivastava contributed to thiese summaries

Quote of the Week

“You can’t create a bike lane and not deal with the issue of intersections, because you’re leaving people in the middle of a traffic jungle. That would never happen with cars. Nobody forgets to put in a traffic light or paint the lines of the car lanes.”

Esther Anaya, a bicycle mobility researcher at Imperial College London, in El Pais discussing the rapid implementation of bike lanes during the pandemic around the world.

This week on the podcast, Sara Hendren joins us to talk about her book “What Can a Body Do? How We Meet the Built World”

Jeff Wood

About Jeff Wood

Jeff Wood is an urban planner focused on transportation and land use issues living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jeff blogs at The Overhead Wire and tweets @theoverheadwire. He also shares news links daily from around the country on issues related to cities at The Direct Transfer