I normally live in Berlin, but as a Brit with two months left in the EU, I’m using September and October to do a surface transport interrailing tour of various parts of Western Europe, while I still can.
I’m interested in this topic, and figured while I’m in Barcelona, it might be worth speaking to folks over there.
So, interesting urban design, EarthOS-y projects, maybe a little like the Berlin Holzhaus, but with a focus on avoiding the need to commute by car for work if possible. I know Barca’s
While the Holzhaus can boast ecological credentials, it’s also a poster child for another kind of sustainability. As partners in the housing cooperative, residents aren’t just safe from fire, they’re sheltered from the ravages of the speculative real estate market by low, stabilized rents.
The experimental group-housing project has been called Berlin’s biggest WG. Each floor was “cast” with a compatible cluster of residents who live like an extended family. They share a communal living room – a kitchen, sofa and sometimes a table soccer game all surrounded by exposed wood floors, ceiling and columns.
Around that space are private apartments, each around 60sqm. The project got a big boost from Berlin’s government, a €2.5 million grant. In exchange, half the units are for people on financial assistance, with monthly rent around €6.50 per sqm (the city average is €10).
There are flats set aside for refugees and persons with dementia. Rents climb to €13.50 on the penthouse level. Back at ground level, Holzhaus has a café, day-care centre, and rehearsal space for musicians. Its diverse mix of people, functions and income levels is a model for urban development that resists “ghettoisation”.
I know there’s stuff going on like the superblocks, but I’m not aware beyond that right now.