With a 79 per cent fall in vehicle use experienced during the pandemic, large swathes of urban areas across Malaga province have been opened up to allow pedestrians to take their daily exercise and maintain a safe distance.
In Malaga and Marbella especially, due to their high population density, the historic centres and promenades have been virtually completely closed off to traffic, with special routes laid on for cyclists.
As a result, SUR has opened up a debate among experts in mobility and sustainable development over whether this break to life as we know it can provide an opportunity to reclaim towns and cities for people for good. "It would be beneficial for everyone," says architect Cristina Gallardo. "Do we really need six lanes for cars and just a tiny slither for pedestrians?"
According to Gallardo, having good connections between outlying neighbourhoods, town centres and green spaces for pedestrians and cyclists is not only good for personal health but also biodiversity.
Enrique San Miguel, president of Ametmos (the Malaga association for sustainable tourism) agrees and says: "With fewer cars on the roads, now is the perfect time to make changes."
For his part, Malaga councillor for Mobility José del Río said that the city hall would look into closing roads, if only at weekends to start with.