Barcelona and urban planning

An interesting article in the online Guardian about the nineteenth-century expansion of Barcelona into a grid system beyond the old walls: the Eixample. It explains how carefully the engineer, Ildefons Cerda, designed the space, taking account of public health, transport systems and equitability. It corresponds to my impression last month when I walked from the station to the hotel: it was such a rational, civilised and modern city. Rather like Vienna with its Ringsstrasse.

The octagonal blocks – which I’d thought of as offering greater display space for corner shops – were designed to give coach-drivers a better view at crossings. This was exactly the first impression of someone who cycled there over thirty years ago. (Not that it prevented him from getting knocked off his bike at one of them.)

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