Parc Espanya Industrial

This is a surprisingly good park considering its location next to one of the more inhospitable parts of Barcelona…Estacio de Sants, Place Paisos Catalans, and Pavello de l’Espanya Industrial. This park and lagoon is quite striking with a generous water lagoon, a large plaza for events, a café, play areas, grass and a wonderful sculpture where we found a woman and her dog gently nestled. The day we were there it was full of people walking, playing, eating comfortably in the park, and the large plaza was full of people doing the Sardona dance to alternating bands from four communities. It was a thrill to be there and was thriving despite its surroundings. It is close to being a Great Public Spaces. It is an important community space and with a little understanding of how it works on other days it could be a Great Public Space.

Parc del Laberint d’Horta

This botanical garden is a lightly used gem that is fun, educational, and full of surprises. Gardens of all kinds are laid out in an adventurous path that leads you up one side of a ravine with a series of rooms, stairs, and vistas, amid different varieties of plants. As you come down through the ravine, there’s a whole different experience with large trees and spectacular undergrowth. Not just unusual, but wholly original, this park that leaves you with many memories.

Avinguda Josep Tarradellas

This Ramblas is quite new and it is further proof that Barcelona keeps trying to improve it streets and neighborhoods by creating new public spaces using existing streets. Though it is new, one has a sense that the design is too formulaic and could actually belong in the “Worse than Average” category.

Ramblas de Catalunya

This is almost a truly great street, except for the setbacks at each corner that are full of vehicles and other obstacles that impede the circulation of pedestrians along the sidewalks. The center Ramblas is quite pleasant, if also rather stark, with little of the comfortable feeling of the Avinguida de Gaudi. It would be so easy to improve this street by extending the sidewalks at each intersection to accommodate cafes, kiosks, public art, seating and other amenities. These types of extended sidewalks already exist all along the Passeig de Gracia, one block away — a perfectly good model.

Jardins Vil-la Amelia

This small neighborhood park is one of two that face each other across a street. Jardins Amelia offers terrific variety, with a bar, children’s games, and fountains, while its neighbor, Jardins Vil-la Sicilia, is just the opposite, with high bushes, cul-de-sacs, and few activities.

Barcelona: Better Than Average Public Spaces was last modified: March 6th, 2012 by Project for Public Spaces
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