Ciutat Vella’s land-use plan

A tool to ensure successful coexistence between commercial activity and residents’ quality of life.

The regulation of economic activity is a question of the utmost relevance in urban planning as urbanism meants to support coexistence of citizens necessities while preserving the health of the commercial economic fabric. In this context, the model of diversity embodied by the city of Barcelona (paradigm of other European cities where commercial and leisure activities play a fundamental role in constructing the social, civic and economic values) is under discussion. The saturation of public access activities, food retailers and tourist services is affecting the habitability and the quality of life of the residents.

The Ciutat Vella land-use plan embodies a new way of doing urban planning, fuelled by recent methodologies of analysis based on Big Data and KDD in the urban studies field. The plan -that regulates public access activities, food shops and tourist services- emphasizes the role of urban planning as an instrument to put the city as a common good above the free market.

The challenges of the central district of Barcelona demand a profound change both in the objectives of the plan itself and in the urban tools used to deal with a predominantly residential area (and that should remain so), a dense and vulnerable demography, a fragile urban morphology, a fabric specialized in leisure where commercial diversity is deteriorating and with high saturation rates of activities that generate negative impacts on the life quality of residents (noise, cleanliness, impact of people in public space, logistics).

In this context, the plan elaborates new regulatory proposals that, in addition to protecting the morphological characteristics plot by plot (single zone, road width, maximum/minimum surface, building vulnerability) and providing a dynamic vision of this urban fabric (variable radius, multiple impacts and division of activities according to time zone), highlights the integration of productive activity in the city and its coexistence with the habitability needs of citizens.

Promoted by: District of Ciutat Vella, Barcelona City Council
Completion: 2018

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