Barcelona is pursuing several initiatives to improve life for people who live and work in the city.
In a radical plan to reclaim the streets from traffic, the city is introducing ‘superblocks’, made up of nine existing blocks joined together into an area where all but essential vehicles are banned. The space formerly occupied by cars is given over to pedestrians, play areas and trees.
There was some initial resistance to the scheme from car owners and people who feared that it would harm local businesses. However, opposition has faded as residents have begun to enjoy the benefits of a traffic-free neighbourhood and the number of local businesses has actually increased, the Guardian reports.
So far there are six superblocks, and the Spanish city plans to create hundreds more. The model has also attracted attention from other cities, including Seattle.
Barcelona’s city council is also preparing to launch two smart city pilots: one focused on generating sustainable energy from road surfaces, and the other looking at how technology can be used to help the city’s elderly population.
And the city is leading the field when it comes to looking after citizens’ data, according to BBC News.
Under a plan initiated with other cities including Edinburgh, Manchester, Bordeaux and Florence, Barcelona is determined that personal and non-personal data generated in the digital public sphere should be used solely in the public interest.
“We believe that technology has to be at the service of citizens to improve the quality of life in cities and not to create digital exclusion,” said the city’s commissioner for digital innovation, Michael Donaldson.
There are also moves to make sure that the analysis of citizens’ data takes account of groups that may have been ignored previously, such as women, people of colour and those with disabilities.
Tags: Smart City