Barcelona would like to bring back the neighbourhood feel to La Rambla, Source: Unsplash

Barcelona started revamp works to “detouristify” La Rambla boulevard

Barcelona started revamp works to “detouristify” La Rambla boulevard

Bringing the local residents back to the iconic thoroughfare is the aim of the project

3 October saw the start of a much-awaited project in the City of Barcelona – the renovation of its most famous pedestrian boulevard La Rambla. The aim of the initiative, which is set to continue all the way until 2030, is not just to freshen up the face of the iconic strip but also aims to bring back a community feel to it. Or as the city’s mayor put it, the goal is to “detouristify” the historic centre of the Catalan capital.

The overall project will evolve in five separate phases, with the first one having begun in the Drassanes area, closest to the sea, beside the Columbus monument. That one will take 18 months to complete.

From a tourist hotspot to an inclusive neighbourhood

Barcelona has long been known for experiencing fatigue from its overly touristic global image and both the residents and the local authorities have implemented a variety of policies to counteract this. The argument goes that mass tourism has made parts of the city unlivable for locals.

According to the city council, the La Rambla renovation will help "encourage its use for social purposes" and is part of the larger aim of making the entire street a "more comfortable, green, friendly and cultural promenade with more space for pedestrians," as said by mayor Ada Colau for Spanish public broadcaster TVE.

The mayor added that the budget set aside will go for things like public housing and publicly protected stores to ensure diversity in the private sector, which is now primarily aimed to cater to the throngs of tourists traversing the boulevard.

The project is set to dramatically transform three different areas across La Rambla in particular, with new squares created in front of emblematic sites such as La Boqueria market, the Liceu Opera house, and in front of Palau Moja, a neoclassical building from the 18th century.

At these sites, the road will be the same height as the sidewalks and security pylons will be installed. Only vehicles driven by residents will be permitted, as well as public transport, bicycles, emergency vehicles, and cars using parking garages in the area.

The new La Rambla will have around 100 benches as well as a new and unified lightning design across the whole boulevard. 



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