GLASGOW is looking to cities like Barcelona for inspiration to create more car free spaces across the city.

The Spanish city is gradually introducing a ‘superblock’ grid system where traffic is diverted away from streets to routes on the periphery of a number of blocks.

The streets in between have more space for people with restrictions of cars.

Representatives form Barcelona are attending the International Healthy Streets Summit in Glasgow this week sharing their experience and looking at efforts in Glasgow to reshape the city centre.

READ MORE: Survey backs car free George Square

Barcelona has big plans to reduce car use and free up space for people all over the city.

Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, Director, Urban Planning at Barcelona Institute for Global Health said there are plans for 500 superblocks covering the city.

He said: “In the first superblock in Poblenou there was a lot of resistance to change and initially people didn’t want it. Particularly shopkeepers who though it would lose them business

But people are now getting used to it and shopkeepers are finding more people are now coming to them on foot.”

HE said the original design of Barcelona, outside the city centre was for wide streets to create more space for people. But since the 1950s that space was taken over by cars.

He said: “We are going back to the original plan, for a healthy city.”

Anabel Gulias Torreiro, vice-mayor of Pontevedra a much smaller city in Spain told of its transformation to almost car free streets.

She said: “ W are not car free but limit the number of cars going through the city.

“We wanted a city for people. Public space as a right.

READ MORE: Sauchiehall Street avenue project complete

She said there was also resistance to the plan when first raised 20 years ago.

However, she added: “We have seen a reduction of 67% in emissions. The population has increased by 33% and we have reduced traffic by 53% and by 97% in the city centre.”

She said one result is there is more local shopping activity in local areas and people are spending time in the city centre on foot.

She added: “With all of this everyone feels more proud of their city.”

In Glasgow people are being asked their views on changes to George square hat could see it car free.

The city Avenues Project, with Sauchiehall Street complete and work due to start on Argyle Street, St Enoch Square and Trongate, the space for cars is being squeezed to create more space for people and cycling.

Anna Richardson, City Convenor for carbon reduction and sustainability said it is not just about the city centre.

She said: “We can get confidence from other cities that have gone through it. The evidence is there and that gives us the energy to keep going.

We can still allow traffic through but increase the space for people.

We need to show people what the change means for them, nicer, quieter, more greenery.

“We want people to spend more time in the city centre.”

However Ms Richardson said that the plan was not just about making the city centre more attractive.

She added: “We are looking at neighbourhoods outside the centre. “The city centre is important but it is not the only part that matters. “Everyday life happens in our communities so we need to look at the whole city.”

The two day Summit being held at Glasgow City Chambers is hearing from experts from across Europe on efforts to create healthier cities and schemes to improve public transport.

Today it will hear from Maria Vassilakou, Vice-Mayor and Deputy Governor of Vienna, where public transport use has increased hugely since it offered travel across the city region for one Euro a day with an annual ticket costing 365 Euro.

Other cities including Berlin and Bonn are looking to replicate the deal to ger more people onto buses and metro and out of cars.

Around half of the Austrian capital city’s 800,000 population now has an annual pass offering passengers unlimited travel on underground, tram and bus networks.