A new urbanism is finding its way into the city

PalmaAnd at the beginning of the new legislative period, which inaugurated the Parc de la Mar in 1984, the city council concentrated on the adoption of the new master plan for urban planning, which had been prepared for a few years between studies and debates. The new plan, sponsored by Jaume Carbonero, Manolo Cabellos, Joana Roca and other young architects, is born from a different concept of urbanism. The plan had to offer new solutions to the many and old problems of Palma. He had to try to bring order to the chaos of the Eixample by equipping all quarters equally; and it had to move from a historic center, which was destroyed by constant devastating interventions, to a renovated center that was reclaimed for the entire city.

At that time there were 320,000 inhabitants in Palma, almost half of Mallorca’s population. It had become an inhospitable city due to heavy traffic, noise, excessive height of buildings that coexisted with other lower ones and lacked green spaces, school facilities, health, commerce and sports. Palma was disorganized, with a rather shabby historic center, some sleeping quarters, some tourists and some rural areas. All of these areas have been divided into a distorted urban morphology that allowed excessive population density due to the different building codes since the 1963 plan.

The Ribas-Piera plan did not stop the disorderly growth and solidified the functional polygons (industry, health, education, trade, university) along the waist road, so that the individual car is promoted as an almost exclusive means of mobility. The policy of the new PGOU from 1985 was based on two political principles: the primacy of public interests over private ones and an orderly and planned urban growth. In terms of territorial organization, the plan divided the city into 37 districts and 11 sectors. The neighborhoods should be equipped with the minimum necessary facilities: a school, a market, a social center, a soccer field and free green spaces. As for the sectors, it had to be: an institute, a health center, a care center, administrative staff, a sports center and a park.

In the architectural field, the aim was to avoid the renovation of the buildings being replaced by others of greater height in order to ensure the preservation of the built historical heritage. In the area of ​​infrastructure, the aim was to improve the services of the tourist areas, to remedy the deficiencies in the water and sewage networks, drainage and sewage treatment plants as well as the electricity and gas network.

In the environmental field, the aim was to protect natural spaces and prevent urban land and buildings in rural areas, to preserve areas of agricultural and livestock interest and areas of natural and forestry interest; They also wanted to avoid extractive activities that would affect the landscape. The intention was to create new parks and green spaces, such as the Riera, the Estaciones (then the FEVE stations), the Carnatge, the Fontanelles, Son Fusteret, the second phase of the Parc de la Mar, the Torrent Gros and the expansion of Bellver Park to Taillenstrasse. The coast was also to be preserved by avoiding new construction. Other areas of Singular Action were the Paseo de la Costa de Llevant, the Paseo de la Costa de Ponent, the Park of the Polígon de Llevant, the gardens of La Feixina and Polígon 2 de Gesa, and that of Platja de Palma.

In terms of mobility, the plan wanted to strengthen alternative public transport (which would gradually replace the private car), pedestrian zones and lanes for bicycle use. It also envisaged new roads connecting the suburbs with the center. The ring road should make it possible to unload traffic from the Paseo Marítimo and distribute it to the old radial roads that lead towards the city center and the industrial and service areas. It also provided for the extension of the Llevant motorway to the Arenal so that access to Playa de Palma no longer had to be along the coast and its beaches.

Of great interest will be the citizen axes, specialized streets in which commercial and tertiary activities have the main function. The 1985 plan included the proposal to convert six streets in the dense Eixample of Palma into a pedestrian zone in order to turn them into citizen axes. A proposal designed to counteract the lack of central spaces that articulated the Eixample districts, which only saw the light of day years later and for only two of the six proposed citizen axes: those of Carrer Fàbrica and later Blanquerna. The Nuredduna Axis is only just beginning to take shape with some controversy.

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