Architecture students help improve accessibility in the Barcelona district of Horta-Guinardó

12/01/18
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This Thursday, the students delivered their projects to local retailers and representatives from a number of entities to ensure improved access to 15 facilities

“It's come to our attention that our neighbourhood presents numerous difficulties in terms of accessing certain establishments. For us, having the support of students from UIC Barcelona has been a great opportunity to reverse this situation”. Such is the view voiced by Marta Garrido, vice president of the Trade Association of the Sant Genís district, during the ceremony held on Thursday 11 January in which 19 projects were submitted by around twenty third-year Architecture students from our school. The aim of these projects is to improve the physical access conditions of numerous municipal facilities in the Horta-Guinardó district, such as shops, bars and restaurants, for people with functional diversity. 

The students carried out their projects under the guidance of Professor Enrique Rovira-Beleta, the lecturer in charge of the compulsory subject Accessibility, the only such course offered by a school of architecture in Spain. During the ceremony held in the Casa Groga Community Centre, Professor Rovira-Beleta pointed out that, “this is the decade of accessibility, because society is ageing. The objective of initiatives such as this is to help establishment owners in Sant Genís see that small gestures can make a big difference for people with mobility problems”. 

The students completed their projects in several stages starting last October. They first took part in a tour of the neighbourhood alongside local residents, organisations from the field of functional diversity and City Council representatives to detect current accessibility needs. The students were even given a guided tour of the district in a wheelchair. Once the needs had been identified, the students analysed each case in-depth and used the criteria of efficiency and sustainability to find specific solutions. The proposals were computerised and supervised by Professor Rovira-Beleta, before being applied to each of the spaces and establishments examined. “This district is a challenge, because it’s very hilly. The students worked extremely hard and found concrete solutions. We're very pleased”, confirmed Professor Rovira Beleta during the project delivery event. 

This initiative is part of a larger project entitled “Comerç Amic Sense Barreres” (CASBA), promoted by the Barcelona City Council in partnership with numerous neighbourhood organisations, trade associations and university institutions. The project CASBA began in 2013 and, since then, has helped improve accessibility in several districts including Zona Franca, Creu Coberta and Vallespir.