In last week’s blog we looked at the importance of placemaking, and the benefits it brings to communities in cities as well as promoting green infrastructure and biodiversity.Barcelona is an exceptional example of how placemaking can benefit a city. 


With sensitivity to the traditional market places, and using world class architects, the city is able to draw people in, keep businesses thriving, and create places for people to enjoy (consequently Forbes magazine found Barcelona to be one of the happiest cities in the world to live). 

As well as the traditional design of space, market places are economically thriving within the city, with 86% of the food bought in Barcelona being bought from markets. Continuously investing in these markets has provided numerous economic, social and environmental benefits, providing an enviable place to live and work whilst making positive impacts for the entire community. There are around 43 markets that serve 73 neighbourhoods in Barcelona, which contribute 74% of GDP for the whole of Spain. It seems like Barcelona is on to something here…

The design of the city is heavily based around squares and plazas, often linked together by green corridors; one of the most famous, Las Ramblas, is a central tourist attractor in Barcelona with 1.4million people visiting it daily. This tree lined avenue is noticeably cooler than neighbouring avenues, arguably contributing to its popularity. Aware of the benefits that nature can bring, both locally and globally, the City of Barcelona has put together The Barcelona Green Infrastructure and Biodiversity Plan 2020. The plan identifies the challenges and then the goals of the council to preserve and promote green infrastructure and biodiversity. Other areas of the plan focus on parks, green roofs and public green space, to improve placemaking within the city. The overall vision is to create a place where “nature and urbanity interact and enhance one another by ensuring the connectivity of greenery”.


Barcelona already has 740 hectares of private green infrastructure and 200 different types of tree species lining streets parks and gardens. The city excels in using green space and placemaking to promote community involvement and conservation of biodiversity. The planning policies used by their council could be used as a template for other cities across Europe to promote sustainable futures.

For more information go to or visit these links;