Cerdà and Barcelona: The need for a new city and service provision
The objective of this project is to study Cerdà’s Plan of Urban Expansion of Barcelona from 1860; specifically, how and why it was conceived in a unique way in which the provision of services to the population was an important part of it. Ildefonso Cerdà based his expansion proposal on an in-depth socio-statistic study of old Barcelona’s population conditions. High mortality rates of the working class population, and poor health and education conditions pushed Cerdà to design a new type of urban planning, which he defined as “urbanism”, In the proposal of the new city he planned the location of services, such as marketplaces, schools and hospitals. In the first part of this paper we introduce the urban and political preconditions of Barcelona and the statistics on which Cerdà based his contribution. In the second part, we use location theory and Geographic Information System (GIS) to analyze the pattern of location and population served by markets and hospitals. In addition, using topographic maps from 1926 and 1975 we study the development of the Expansion up to when it was fully developed. The evolution of the city differed from Cerdà’s proposal, partly due to unexpected increases in population density, built environment and larger building occupation size. Nevertheless, Cerdà’s lay-out of streets and avenues has prevailed.