Architecture students devise ways to improve the accessibility of the shops on Avinguda Gaudí
The initiative is part of the Barcelona City Council project Friendly Trade Without Barriers
On 13 February, third-year students from the UIC Barcelona School of Architecture presented their ideas for improving the accessibility of the shops and facilities on Avinguda Gaudí at the community centre in the Sagrada Familia district. The initiative is part of the Barcelona City Council project Friendly Trade Without Barriers (CASBA), driven by the Barcelona City Council’s Municipal Institute for People with Disabilities (IMPD) with a view to improving accessibility in the city’s neighbourhoods and streets.
Altogether, the students, supervised by the director of the School’s Area of Accessibility, lecturer Enrique Rovira-Beleta, developed 24 projects for businesses on Avinguda Gaudí and the streets adjacent to this major shopping hub. Present at the presentation of the proposals was Marta Sendra, councillor of Functional Diversity and the Elderly for the Eixample district; Clara Santamaria and Maria Castells, IMPD representatives; and Loreto Almirall, president of the Gaudí Shopping Retailers Association. “We are always willing to improve our establishments, and the students’ projects really helped us to see the barriers that our shops still hold for people with disabilities”, declared the local shop owners’ representative.
The students developed their accessibility proposals inside the establishments, based on the criteria of efficiency and sustainability. According to lecturer Enrique Rovira-Beleta, “The idea is for these businesses to incorporate what we call ‘unnoticed accessibility’, that is, things that make life easier for everyone, but cannot be seen”.
Since 2013, the CASBA project has helped to improve accessibility in several districts in Barcelona, including Zona Franca, Creu Coberta, Vallespir, Horta-Guinardó, Sant Andreu and Ciutat Vella.