Author | Arantxa HerranzThe most modern cities in the world have grown over the last century, in terms of design, features and composition, based predominantly on a vehicle-based perspective. But things are changing. Contemporary urban planning seeks a more inclusive an eco-friendly approach, with room for all types of vehicles (not just cars, but also bicycles or scooters) and people (adults, children in prams, or people with reduced mobility).This new form of urban planning focuses on designing places for the comfort and enjoyment of people. The ultimate model would be pedestrian cities, in which city centres have entire car-free networks of streets. The city centre of Venice, with its particular orography, is one of these. Copenhagen and its growing network of pedestrian streets is another example of this change.Measures have also been implemented in Barcelona to promote sustainable mobility. These are known as superilles or superblocks. Launched in 1986 with the aim of reducing acoustic contamination on the streets, these superblocks enable cars and people to go around a block in the same time. One of the most significant achievements of this system is that cars went from occupying 85% of public spaces to 25% today.The superilles proposal also includes one-way bicycle lanes. The priority within the perimeter is for pedestrians and bikes, therefore the maximum speed is limited to 10 km/h for motor vehicles.The aim of all these proposals is to reclaim public spaces for people instead of cars, so residents can enjoy the convenience of a network of connected pedestrian streets and squares. Being able to walk to shops, restaurants, kiosks, cafeterias and markets in the open air in neighbourhoods or work centres without motor vehicles, also provides improved quality of life and greater variety for these areas.
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