17 May 2011

Over three decades since the previous metropolitan plan was updated, the Barcelona region finally has a new metropolitan regional plan. The plan came about following the January 2004 launch of the Catalan Spatial Planning Programme, which allowed for the development of regional spatial plans for the six regions within Catalonia, Spain.

The regional spatial plans have 15 objectives:
1.To favour territorial diversity and keep its biophysical matrix as a reference
2.To protect natural, agricultural and non-developable areas in general as components of spatial planning
3.To maintain the landscape as a social value and a territorial asset
4.To moderate land development
5.To favour territorial social cohesion and prevent the spatial segregation of urban areas
6.To protect and promote the urban heritage that is the territorial backbone
7.To facilitate an effective housing policy that is integrated from an urban point of view
8.To contribute to the coexistence of activities and housing in urban areas, while rationalising the introduction of industrial or tertiary estates
9.To contribute measures for the regulation and spatial guidance of vacation homes
10.To watch over the compact and continuous character of growth
11.To reinforce territorial nodal structure by means of urban growth
12.To make mobility a right, not a duty
13.To facilitate public transport by polarising and compacting settlement systems
14.To pay special attention to public roads as the territorial backbone of urban development
15.To integrate Catalonia into the European urban and transport network systems by means of infrastructures that are concordant with the territorial matrix
..... whew....that's a lot of objectives!

The plan highlights the ebb and flow of the metropolitan region in the past 60 years, starting with rapid growth in population in the City of Barcelona between 1950 and 1980, followed by suburban expansion and population loss in the city, to a restart in inner city growth in the mid-1990s resulting largely from international migration.

The main thrust of the plan involves the protection of green space, a move from mixed traffic to segregated traffic, from a radial transporation system to a more balanced network, and an increase in secondary road networks and public transportation.

All in all, it's an ambigious plan! Only the future will tell how successful it will be.
For more information, particularly if you can read Catalan, go to here.