Architecture students envisage a green and sustainable future for Barcelona’s ring roads

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The students’ proposals come as part of the hackathon “Un-covering Barcelona’s ring roads”

Architecture students envisage a green and sustainable future for Barcelona’s ring roads

Students from UIC Barcelona School of Architecture presented two urban proposals last weekend to rethink the future of the Barcelona ring road system, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the infrastructure. The proposals were presented on the afternoon of Sunday, 21 October, in the Aula Magma at UIC Barcelona. The event became a meeting place for around 200 architecture students from across Catalonia taking part in the weekend hackathon “Un-covering Barcelona’s ring roads”. The initiative was organised by the Confederation of Architectural Project Workshops (CTPA), with the support of Barcelona Regional.

“Barcelona would be one of the greenest cities in Europe if we managed to open up its ring road system and connect the city with the Collserola mountain range”, the spokesperson of the proposal “Naturalist ring road” claimed. This proposal set out to convert 120,000 square metres of the ring road into green space and thereby reduce current traffic levels by two-thirds. In parallel, another group of students presented their proposal – “Metabolist ring road” – redefining the infrastructure so that it could produce energy from road traffic and collect water by means of urban drainage systems, among other suggestions.

The two proposals were discussed in a public debate session in the university’s Aula Magma, which gave rise to interesting reflections on the future of the ring road opened ahead of the 1992 Olympic Games. At the end of the debate, a public vote was held in which the proposal “Metabolist ring road” was crowned champion, with 55% of the votes cast. 

The initiative “Un-covering Barcelona’s ring roads” took place between 19 and 21 October and included the participation of nearly 500 architecture students from across Catalonia. The event was part of the Open City Biennial of Thought organised by Barcelona City Council and sponsored by Schweppes.