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Ildefonso Cerdá

Born in Centellas, Catalonia, in 1815 and died in Las Caldas de Besaya in 1876. He was a Spanish engineer, lawyer, economist, city planner and politician. He was the ideologist of the Cerdá Plan, an urban project for the Barcelona Eixample. He also wrote the General Theory of Urbanization. This work expresses his intention to improve the demographic concentration in cities due to industrial development. It includes reforms to the Eixample district of Barcelona in which he makes an assessment of the living conditions of the working classes. It’s also important his study of social inequalities influencing health and its comparison in life expectancy according to the social class. This idea of modern urbanism is especially influenced by his interest in the hygienist movements. They defended the construction of public roads with many green areas and wide comfortable sidewalk for pedestrians, according to population density. In addition, he anticipated the motorization of transport and reserved separate spaces from social interaction for vehicles. He defended the construction of houses with natural light, without exception. The urban structure he proposed exploits the wind direction to facilitate oxygenation and cleaning the atmosphere. Its architectural structure was based on a strict geometry of parallel and perpendicular streets, with blocks ended in chamfer. In his political life, actively he participated in the Democratic Federal Republican Party being elected (by universal male suffrage) Vice President of the Deputation of Catalonia, where he helped to proclaim the First Spanish Republic in 1873. His progressive ideology was particularly sensitive to the problems of the working class. Video