The exploratory r+d project SUPERBE investigated the transferability of the spatial organization concept of superblocks beyond its original context. This urban planning tool, applied most notably in Barcelona, focuses on a redesign of traffic organization in order to prioritize active mobility and free up street space for alternative uses. The study found that implementing superblocks has the potential to generate energy savings by avoiding traffic as well as by shifting traffic flows to sustainable forms of mobility.
In 2018, when the study began, there was no systemic approach to assess the suitability of existing urban neighborhoods in terms of the traffic and energy effects of applying a superblock concept. SUPERBE showed, using Vienna as an example, how possible areas of application could be identified taking into account urban morphological criteria. Three case-studies were conducted to demonstrate how the case sites could be transformed into superblocks. In addition, opportunities for redesigning public space and for energy savings as a result of changes in the mobility sector were analyzed.
The findings show that superblocks are an appropriate planning concept for Vienna. The detailed elaboration of the structural redesign in the three case-studies illustrates the potential with regard to a redesign of public space. For example, the tree population could be increased up to six times and the possible area for green infrastructure (tree discs, planters, etc.) could be increased fivefold. The potential for energy savings in the transport sector was estimated using a mode-choice model. Up to 0.790 car-km per person per day, equivalent to 738 kg CO2 or 2644 kWh per day could be saved.
The SUPERBE project thus well illustrates the positive effects of Superblocks on energy-reduction and their potential for the redesign of public space. It also shows that the systematic implementation of the superblock concept is possible within large parts of Vienna’s existing urban fabric, even those that do not immediately resemble the Barcelona district most associated with the concept.
*This project was conducted by Florian Lorenz as consortium member and the work executed collaboratively by the co-founders of studio LAUT.
Client: Funded by FFG, BMK
Project type: Research Project
Scale: urban, city
Status: Study finished
Team: Florian Lorenz, Georg Wieser
Collaborators: Austrian Institute of Technology, City of Vienna, University of Technology Vienna