Made for living
In the Nineteenth Century, Barcelona got two big problems and a derivative problem caused by them: a city growth without planning and an old wall around the city that compressed the population in a very limited area. The consequence of these two problems was that the city couldn’t provide with homes to the increasing industry workers that were arriving to the city around 1850. This was a huge problem, because by law, all the land outside the wall was considered military area and it was forbidden to build in there. By the way, as you must have noticed, Barcelona is limited by the sea and the mountain in his expansion. Actually, it was a huge problem for which nobody could find a solution. Not until an engineer arrived to the mayor hall with a plan scrolled under his arm. This man was Ildefons Cerdà, and his genius solution was the Eixample (“The Enlargement”; kind of in-city sprawl).
Very few people received the idea as the cutting edge of urban solution that it was. And even less gave credit enough to the envision of this octogonal design, divided in four triangles by two diagonals of six lanes that relieve the distribution of merchandise from the port (and that was in the middle of the XIX’s century, when the automobile was a probable theory!!). But the core of the design got the workers in mind, and there was space reserved to build markets, hospitals, schools and parks.
We don’t wonder why everybody wants to live in this neighborhood: it’s designed to have everything near and accessible, making just a perfect place to live, take a walk or even a drink. And we can't forget one of its best advantage, its great location, just next to the center (you can go walking) but out of the big crowds.
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