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Perhaps a discussion should be had about the relationship between urban quality of life and walking.

An intriguing test bed for such a discussion could be Superblocks in Barcelona. Large blocks of urban residential were placed off limits for through traffic since 2016.

Superblocks work by limiting the number of roads that cars can use to cross the city. Through traffic is permitted only on roads around the perimeter of each superblock. The streets within the block have a low 10 kilometers-per-hour speed limit and allow access only for locals and key services. Once this system is in place, the less car-encumbered streets are redesigned, extending pedestrian space and and allowing for amenities such as playgrounds...

In Barcelona’s three mature superblocks—located in the Gràcia and Born neighborhoods and now fully equipped with pedestrian improvements, wider sidewalks, and more street furniture—the advantages have gradually sunk in and resistance has largely evaporated. Since 2007, walking increased in the area by 10 percent and cycling by 30 percent. Driving in the internal streets fell by 40 percent.

It’s an approach that could catch on elsewhere. With its flat, regular grid, Manhattan is often cited as a potentially good host for superblock planning. Paris...
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