The new metropolitan plan provides for 217,000 new homes by 2050

The Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB) has taken a key step in its territorial planning, in defining how it wants to be from now to 2050.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
21 March 2023 Tuesday 22:44
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The new metropolitan plan provides for 217,000 new homes by 2050

The Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB) has taken a key step in its territorial planning, in defining how it wants to be from now to 2050. Yesterday it initially approved the Metropolitan Urban Master Plan (PDUM), which sets the structuring elements of the conurbation that make up the Catalan capital and the 35 municipalities in its immediate surroundings, in which 3.3 million people reside. It updates the drawing that was made in 1976, embodied in the General Metropolitan Plan (PGM), which to date has had some 1,600 modifications to adapt to the needs that have arisen. With this update it is intended to face the challenges that the current metropolis must face, including housing, one of the most imperative. To this end, the construction of 217,000 new homes has been planned, at least 120,000 of which are affordable.

With the promotion of the residential offer, "it responds to housing needs without preying on territories", highlights the vice president of Urban Policies of the AMB, Jordi Sánchez. The objective is to ensure that 10% of the main dwellings in the metropolitan municipalities are affordable on a stable basis. Within this figure, 62,000 social rental apartments are planned for the most disadvantaged population.

The initially approved PDUM has been drawn up based on a progress document agreed in March 2019. In the process, the contributions of political groups, municipalities and also citizens have been collected through participatory processes. The text received the green light by a very large majority of the Consell Metropolità. All the groups, including those of the government –PSC, Comunes, ERC and Junts– voted in favour, except PP and Cs and two individuals from Ripollet and Torrelles de Llobregat, who abstained. There were no votes against. The document now goes to public information, to receive allegations, until October 30. Then another will be drawn up with the changes that are agreed to be incorporated to be provisionally approved by the AMB and, later, definitively by the Generalitat. The detail of the urban qualifications will be specified in the Metropolitan Urban Planning Plan (POUMet), which will be elaborated later. Therefore, there is still a long way to go to decommission the old PGM.

"The PDUM represents a step forward in the exercise of the powers of the AMB, a joint document, the sum of the metropolitan vision with the local vision of the municipalities, which has sought a balance that avoids the center-periphery dichotomy", he emphasizes Sanchez This approach is present throughout the plan, which, for example, sets 15 new poles of attraction - with housing, economic activity, transport nodes... - distributed throughout the territory with the objective of setting up a polycentric network. Among them are Porta Diagonal, la Torrassa, Quatre Camins, Baricentro, Montcada Bifurcació, Besòs-Gran Via C-31, Hospital General, TV3 Diagonal or the Tres Xemeneies de Sant Adrià.

Ten large metropolitan avenues linking municipalities have also been drawn. These axes total more than 240 kilometers and are designed for surface public transport (rapid bus or tram) and for active mobility, with bike lanes and large spaces for pedestrians. An example is the Gran Via that goes from Castelldefels to Montgat. Adding other types of roads, it is intended to reach 870 kilometers of green axes.

As for mobility, the PDUM proposes that more than 50% of metropolitan journeys be made on foot or by bicycle and 30% on public transport. It also sets, related to the latter, that the use of private vehicles be reduced to half of what they have now. These objectives are transferred to road and railway planning.

“To a large extent, the metropolis has already been built and, therefore, this plan is for review and recycling,” adds Sánchez. In this sense, urban generation is key. This entails, for example, transforming buildings and equipment, as well as public space with the aim of improving the quality of life, especially in areas with the highest rates of social vulnerability.

Another aspect that the PDUM includes is the preservation of open spaces, which exceed 32,000 hectares, 51% of the total metropolitan area, 4.2% more than that now classified as non-developable land.