Habitat III - Networking Events
  • Monday 17
  • The right to the city in Barcelona and abroad: public spaces and housing at the core of a new urban sustainability model

    Networking Events
    Venue: R9
    Lead Organization:
    Barcelona City Council
    Partner organizations:
    Centre De Cultura ContemporĂ nia De Barcelona (CCCB) World Association Of The Major Metropolises (Metropolis) MedellĂ­n City Council Academic Partners

    In this event, Barcelona will share its vision to become a new model of sustainable city, focused on the collaborative boosting of both public spaces and affordable housing. Through the presentation of its current challenges, and strategies to tackle them, the City Council intends to emphasize the complementarity of urban ecology and social justice areas in urban management. Excessive pollution and noise levels combine with the social problems of an economic crisis rooted in the speculation of housing treated as a commodity, rather than a right. To cope with this scenario, Barcelona is developing a transdisciplinary approach (combining urban planning, mobility and ecology), which will transform the public space, the built environment and citizens’ habits to make the city for living. This model could stimulate further collaboration with other cities, such as the partnerships that have been successfully carried out with Medellín. To achieve more mixed, compact, just, sensible cities, we must consider that, like the street, the house too is a collective matter. Therefore, the Barcelona new model for sustainable city is mostly based on a plan to give the streets back to residents (by pedestrianizing the interior of major blocks, known as “superilles”, i.e. mini neighbourhoods around which traffic will flow), as well as on an urban rehabilitation strategy which focuses on the access to affordable and decent housing (by filling up the empty spaces of the built-up city and repopulating neighborhoods). By promoting the rehabilitation sector as a key element of the local economy, this approach shall, on one hand, reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, promote savings and energy efficiency, increase the production of renewable energy and ensure access to energy. On the other hand, it shall halt gentrification and guarantee the right to housing as the bedrock of basic rights such as health, education and voting.