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Barcelona MAPPING

Contemporary Regeneration of History

Barcelona MAPPING
By Andrea Boschetti -

For this issue, TheCityPlan has moved to Barcelona, a city integrally associated with urban regeneration. Following our now standard approach, we analyze the city by looking at six maps that show five "snapshots" of the city - snapshots because the information is taken directly from GIS-mapping available online. Our main map, the one against which all the others are compared, is the population density map. The unique nature of the city is immediately evident, with the population spread remarkably evenly across the entire urban area. This picture of Barcelona, with its characteristic urban layout, can be traced to the second half of the 19th Century, when the engineer Ildefons Cerdà created a now famous right-angled city grid with two diagonal streets. The lots were all square and the same size, with rounded corners to make it easier for vehicles to turn. The population density map shows just one area of "depression" near Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes, the meeting point for the main city axes in Cerdà's plan and a focal point for a major urban regeneration project in recent times. The employment density map shows diffused concentration, with poles that intensify in the heart of the city. Comparing this and the population density map reveals - unlike what was found in other cities - the figures are quite uniform, confirming Barcelona's mixed-use vocation. This contemporary characteristic became, many years ago now, a planning benchmark for many cities across the globe. The transport structure is underpinned by the cinturón beltway that intersects some of the main roads running along the valleys cut by the Besòs (to the north-east) and Llobregat (to the south-west) rivers, and connects the thriving industrial port with the interior. The city is completely contained within this road boundary, along with a large nature park called Parc Natural de la Serra de Collserola. For the 1992 Barcelona...

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