Abstract Title

Ildefons Cerda and l’Eixample: A model for urban planning in the 20th century

Abstract

In the historic past the two-meter thick surrounding roman walls of Barcelona intended to protect the city. At 1850 the walls constrained Barcelona’s immaterial and material growth, the former of rapid industrialization yet deteriorated quality of life and the latter of increased physical urbanization. The l’Eixample, or Cerdá plan, is the resultant solution to dissolve these issues and expand the city. Launched in 1859, the visionary plan conceptualized a network-oriented approach far ahead of Cerdá’s time. His plan was substantially more complete than others in that his approach was based in an egalitarian grid, an economic proposal, and a comprehensive circulation system. The Catalan engineer’s controversially selected plan reimagined the city’s preoccupation with hygiene, traffic, and equality to which he coins the term “urbanism.”

This paper will first describe the city’s existing conditions and how Cerdá was receptive to them. Secondly, it will explore how he develops theory and why it was pioneering in the context of an emerging urban planning movement. Given the most characteristic features of Barcelona’s identity can be directly attributed to the Cerdá Plan, is it a relevant case study? Although much research has been conducted on l’Eixample itself, the following will analyze how Cerdá’s 19th century urban planning strategies influenced the planning of 20th century cities, a topic few others have divulged. Investigation will consult Ildefons Cerdá’s 1867 text “The General Theory of Urbanization,” a primary source, as well as Ebenezer Howard’s “Garden Cities of To-morrow” a secondary source, to comparatively analyze practice and theory.

Modified Abstract

In the past the walls of Barcelona was intended for protection. At 1850 the walls more so constrained Barcelona. The l’Eixample is the resultant solution to expand the city. Launched in 1859, the plan conceptualized a network-oriented approach far ahead of Cerdá’s time. It reimagined the city’s preoccupation with hygiene, traffic, and equality to which he coins the term “urbanism.”

This paper will describe the city’s existing conditions and how Cerdá was receptive to them. Secondly, it will explore his theory and why it was pioneering in the context of an emerging urban planning movement. The following will analyze how Cerdá’s strategies influenced the planning of future cities—is it a model? Investigation will consult the theory of Cerdá and Ebenezer Howard for comparative analysis.

Research Category

Architecture

Author Information

Michelle BarrettFollow

Primary Author's Major

Architecture

Mentor #1 Information

Dr. Brett Tippey

Presentation Format

Poster

Start Date

21-3-2017 1:00 PM

Biography.docx (101 kB)

Research Area

Architectural History and Criticism | Urban, Community and Regional Planning

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Mar 21st, 1:00 PM

Ildefons Cerda and l’Eixample: A model for urban planning in the 20th century

In the historic past the two-meter thick surrounding roman walls of Barcelona intended to protect the city. At 1850 the walls constrained Barcelona’s immaterial and material growth, the former of rapid industrialization yet deteriorated quality of life and the latter of increased physical urbanization. The l’Eixample, or Cerdá plan, is the resultant solution to dissolve these issues and expand the city. Launched in 1859, the visionary plan conceptualized a network-oriented approach far ahead of Cerdá’s time. His plan was substantially more complete than others in that his approach was based in an egalitarian grid, an economic proposal, and a comprehensive circulation system. The Catalan engineer’s controversially selected plan reimagined the city’s preoccupation with hygiene, traffic, and equality to which he coins the term “urbanism.”

This paper will first describe the city’s existing conditions and how Cerdá was receptive to them. Secondly, it will explore how he develops theory and why it was pioneering in the context of an emerging urban planning movement. Given the most characteristic features of Barcelona’s identity can be directly attributed to the Cerdá Plan, is it a relevant case study? Although much research has been conducted on l’Eixample itself, the following will analyze how Cerdá’s 19th century urban planning strategies influenced the planning of 20th century cities, a topic few others have divulged. Investigation will consult Ildefons Cerdá’s 1867 text “The General Theory of Urbanization,” a primary source, as well as Ebenezer Howard’s “Garden Cities of To-morrow” a secondary source, to comparatively analyze practice and theory.