The city of Gaudi, beating heart of Catalonia is a unique and active city globally renowned for much more than its architectural beauties and golden beaches. FC Barcelona is not the only reason why the city has been recognized as one of the most innovative hubs in terms of sport and physical activity. There is more…
2020, November 17th
Beside its variegated and extensive cultural heritage, Barcelona has become a recognized visionary and smart city over the past decade. The Urban Mobility Plan (2013-2018) ushers in a new era, not only for the transport sector and services, but also for sport, leisure and the increase of physical activity among citizens. Barcelona is hence unanimously considered at the vanguard of sustainable development linked with the rising-awareness around the benefits of sport and physical activity.
Barcelona’s urban infrastructure and philosophy was seemingly built for the urban bike sharing movement and for pedestrians. The notorious Catalan bike share scheme, Bicing was launched in 2007 under the Ajuntament de Barcelona , and was further renewed last year (2019). In its first year, the public bike share scheme recorded a 9 percent increase in ridership (11 000 users)in comparison to the previous period. Today Bicing counts 7 100 bikes and 519 smart stations from la Barceloneta to Montjuic. Under the Urban Mobility Plan Barcelona aimed to increase their cycle lanes by 165% and reach 308 km by 2018. This network provides 95% of the population with a cycle lane within 300 meters of their home.
By the same token, Barcelona’s cycling infrastructure is coupled with several initiatives that seek to further promote and encourage cycling. “Cycling Without Age” promotes active ageing and health of the elderly by means of bike tours around the city, and resumes its face-to-face activities adapting to the new normal, is a clear example of it.
In-keeping with the city’s vision to become more environmentally friendly and active, between 2012 and 2016, it increased its pedestrian zones and streets by 42 percent- reaching a total of 107.4 ha of accessible surfaces to pedestrians.
Through the last Integral Rehabilitation Plan 2015-2018 7,450 m2 of new green space was gained, 212 new parking spaces for bicycles were installed and 65,513 m2 of single-platform streets were built.
Within the context of the Strategic Plan on Sport 2012-2022, leisure and physical activity have gained a central role. The Plan is structured into 6 Master Plans that together incorporate a total of 22 Strategic Projects, most of which have been launched as part of the Action Plan on 2015.
The city of Barcelona seeks to combine its new urban strategy with sport activities therefore promoting the creation of new outdoor areas where citizens can train and play “open air” games. There are also a total of 36 gymnastic circuits specifically tailored to promote senior health, and encourage accessible and regular movement among the target group.
Barcelona equally reaches out to its citizens with the “Get Active at the Park” programme, which takes place outside in a variety of parks and gardens and that strives to promote health-enhancing physical activity, an physical and social active lifestyle, while enjoying Barcelona’s green spaces.
With the constant increase of green areas and parks around the city and the will to take advantage of them to create sustainable services for citizens, Barcelona represents an unicum in the European panorama.
With its numerous initiatives and peculiarities Barcelona is exemplary in regard to physical activity and sport at school: from summer vacation projects, to extracurricular activities, to specific school programmes, the city offers a wide array of actions.
The sport offer during school hours are directly related to the priorities of the Physical Education Program. In 2018 76,1% of school-aged people played sport; 70,6 % of them plays in a club.
With the Strategic Plan for Sport, Education through sport is one of the priorities, and with the number of youngsters who actively play sport is constantly increasing, a new and significant project will be launched during this academic year.
The “L’escola fa esport a la Ciutat” (School does sport in the City) project will support young students, from kindergarten to high-school, practice regular sport and physical activity at school. The project includes several activities throughout the year, which will equally aim to educate the young citizens through the values of through sport. The final aim is to make facilities and public spaces of Barcelona more accessible to citizens.
Especially after the Olympic Games in 1992, Barcelona has always considered sport and physical activity a cornerstone of its general strategy. The Urban Mobility Plan has opened a new field in its innovative way of thinking, and therefore, the practice of sport linked with the urban developing has made Barcelona a European pioneer in the fight against inactivity and sedentarity.