Society 14/12/2021

Barcelona Rambla renovation to start in 2022

City Council guarantees works will be budgeted for next year

3 min
Simulation of how the Rambla will look like after the works

BarcelonaThe transformation of Barcelona's Rambla, after years of debate without an allocated budget, will finally begin in 2022. This was announced by the city council in the Urban Planning Commission on Tuesday, which has finally approved the project, and has pledged to include it in the 2022 budget. The reform of the Rambla, whose first plan was approved in 2016, was a source of conflict during budget negotiations between mayor Ada Colau's team and ERC, which set it as an example of the council's failure to keep its word. The council then urged ERC to negotiate the 2022 budget in order to allow the project to go ahead. ERC refused, but ended up supporting the budget anyway in a quid pro quo that gave the Catalan government the necessary support to approve its own budget.

This has allowed Urbanism councillor Janet Sanz to announce today that the Rambla reform will begin next year. As planned, it will be carried out in five phases, starting with the section closest to the sea. The works will require a €44.6m investment and follow a project presented by architects kmZERO, led by former councillor and architect Itziar González, which won the international competition in 2017.

The new Rambla will have a single lane of traffic on each side and will gain space both in the central platform and on the sidewalks, which will have a minimum width of three meters, with a unified pavement with horizontal lines from side to side. The passage of vehicles will be restricted to neighbourhood traffic, bicycles, buses, urban distribution of goods, service vehicles and access to car parks in the area. In the Colom-Drassanes area, the layout of Avinguda de les Drassanes will be modified to improve its connection with the coast.

Aerial view of the Colom-Drassanes area, as it stands
Aerial view of the Colom-Drassanes area, as it will be
Aerial view of Miró's mosaic, as it is
Aerial view of Miró's mosaic, as it will be
View from the balcony of La Virreina, as it is
View from the balcony of La Virreina, as it will be

One of the changes that is expected to go ahead during 2022 is to eliminate the old aviaries, now converted into shops of all kinds, a point that has shopkeepers on the warpath. They have already announced a protest rally this Thursday. The withdrawal of the aviaries will be, according to the city council, "one of the big changes" that will be experienced next year in the Rambla. As explained by the Urbanism councillor, the forecast is that, along with the physical changes, there will also be strategies to promote cultural activity or improve the living conditions of the (few) neighbours.

"The whole reform has to be done following dynamics that avoid expelling neighbours and make it easier to attract more", remarked Janet Sanz. Ciutat Vella councillor Jordi Rabassa added that the new Rambla has to function as a place where people want to spend time and become a good connection between neighbourhoods: "It has to stop being a border and be a space where things happen".

The works on the Rambla will coincide in time with the works on Via Laietana, which are expected to start next March with a €32.9m investment.