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The potential of implementing superblocks for multifunctional street use in cities

Sven Eggimann ()
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Sven Eggimann: Urban Energy Systems Laboratory, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Empa

Nature Sustainability, 2022, vol. 5, issue 5, 406-414

Abstract: Abstract The Barcelona superblock has been proposed as a sustainable urban neighbourhood transformation strategy in cities. Superblock design reduces space assigned to cars to enable alternative uses for improving liveability and sustainability. Here, the potential for superblock transformation is systematically quantified and evaluated for cities with varying urban forms and densities. A superblock consists of nine (3 × 3) urban city blocks, including interior and exterior streets. Miniblocks, consisting of four (2 × 2) blocks, are proposed as a less-disruptive strategy to initiate urban transformation on which superblocks can build. A geospatial network-based approach is developed to find locations for introducing multifunctional streets. For possible site prioritization, the identified locations are evaluated concerning the potential disruption to traffic. The analysis reveals that the potential for superblocks and miniblocks, as well as their disruption effect, varies considerably across cities and is affected by the urban layout. For some cities, over 40% of the street network is potentially suitable for integrating superblock or miniblock design, providing opportunities for city-scale transition towards more sustainable and liveable cities. A grid-like layout in cities is not a sufficient condition for high superblock potential, and cities with irregular street layouts can show high transformation potential as well.

Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1038/s41893-022-00855-2

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