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Future

Out With The Car, In With The Urban "Super-Island"

Barcelona architect Ton Salvadó explains how a new way or organizing urban areas might lead to greener, more peaceful cities.

Photo of a man riding a bicycle in a lane reserved for cyclists.

Man riding his bike in Barcelona in an area where cars have been largely restricted.

Ana da Cunha

There's no pristine white sand and palm trees framing turquoise water on Ton Salvadó's "super-islands." When the Barcelona architect uses the term, what he's referring to instead are chunks of city, in nine-block groupings, whose interior streets are closed to cars, forming pedestrian "islands" where foot traffic is king.

The idea for super-islands first emerged when Salvadó became director of Barcelona's Urban Model, at a time when the city was embroiled by civic protests over the high price of housing. After some initial success, Salvadó, a Barcelona-native, might have the chance to revolutionize his city's pedestrian geography with 500 additional super-islands in the future.

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