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Located in north-west Spain, Oviedo is a small city of around 225,000 people. Within the 18 square kilometres that make the city, there are many interesting urban design features.
Whilst not indicative of the city’s overall approach to refuse, this street recycling facility is nevertheless an interesting piece of design. Presented as ordinary sized bins, they are in fact covers to enormous recycling storage units beneath street level. Even though they are not present on every street corner, they do represent one element of the city’s ambitious approach to cleanliness.
Oviedo’s streets are kept very clean mainly as a result of an incredibly enthusiastic local council. However, with the city winning awards and being recognised for its cleanliness, civic pride plays a part in maintaining an impressively litter-free streetscape. This refuse-obsession goes beyond the streets, with residential rubbish collections happen 6 days a week – including Christmas day!
Oviedo contains numerous public spaces, including parks, city courtyards and markets. At almost 1500 years old, many of these public spaces are a result of the city’s prolonged development, but in more recent times the provision of space for pedestrians has become a conscious priority for the city. In the last few years, significant work has been undertaken in the city to reduce the width of roads, instead choosing to widen pavements. Equality for pedestrians is an important consideration in Oviedo.
The status of the pedestrian is best represented by the city’s traffic lights. At many central pedestrian crossings, amber traffic lights also feature a pedestrian symbol to remind drivers that people may still be crossing. In addition to the larger-scale urban design considerations, it is little touches like this that demonstrate Oviedo’s urban culture.