Catalan Review

Ildefons Cerdà's Scalpel: A Lefebvrian Perspective on Nineteenth-Century Urban Planning

Catalan Review (2011), 25, (1), 181–200.

Abstract

Employing his methodological scalpel, Ildefons Cerdà cut into the urban fabric and created just as many problems as he solved. Today, the legacy of the piecemeal approach to urban life advocated by Cerdà persists in its instrumentalist and inadequate focus on the built environments of cities without paying enough attention to the complex relationship between social, cultural, and political factors out of which the city is produced. A Lefebvrian reading of Cerdà's urban theories (in his Teoría de la construcción de las ciudades, Teoría de la viabilidad urbana, and Teoría general de la urbanización) highlights the methodological and philosophical premises that may have prevented the Catalan planner's socialist-utopian dreams from being realized.

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Fraser, Benjamin