Background/aim Car-centric city designs of previous decades have resulted in sedentary lifestyles, high levels of environmental pollution (i.e. air pollution, noise and heat islands) and the disappearance of natural outdoor environments. The Barcelona ‘superblock’ model is a promising land-use strategy with the aim to reduce motor traffic while promoting active and public transport and recreational activities.
Methods A health impact assessment (HIA) is carried out assessing the health consequences of the implementation of the Barcelona superblock model with respect to expected changes in physical activity levels, air pollution, noise and local temperatures and the access to green spaces. Avoidable premature mortality, disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) and economic impacts related to the Barcelona superblock model are estimated in order to assess the health benefit-risk tradeoff of this urban land-use intervention.
Results Results of this HIA demonstrate the expected net health impacts of the Barcelona superblock model. Results will be presented to the Barcelona City Council to promote and advocate for the implementation of this promising land-use strategy to reduce burdensome motor traffic in cities and associated emission levels and return public space to the citizens in order to promote social cohesion and healthy urban living.
Conclusion The Barcelona superblock model is an encouraging intervention to overcome contemporary burdensome motor traffic in cities and the associated physical inactivity crisis and environmental pollution burden. Associated health impacts are expected to make a case for the rapid implementation of this new urban model.