Retrato de Ildefons Cerdà

Ildefons Cerdà, l'urbanista


Ildefons Cerdà, town planner

He was an civil engineer, town planner, architect, jurist, economist, politician, militiaman...he was a versatile man that will be remembered by the Barcelona town-planning alteration of the 19th century, alteration that is known as Plà Cerdà. This alteration would give, as a result, the Barcelona enlargement neighbourhood. He was one of the modern town planning founders.
 

BIOGRAPHY

Ildefons Cerdà Sunyer

(Centelles, 23rd of December 1815) he was an engineer, town planner, architect, jurist, economist, politician, militiaman...he was a versatile man that will be remembered by the Barcelona town-planning alteration of the 19th century, alteration that is known as Plà Cerdà. This alteration would give, as a result, the Barcelona enlargement neighbourhood. He was one of the modern town planning founders.

He was born in mas Cerdà de la Garga, a property which his family owned since the 14th century in Centelles, la Plana de Vic (Catalonia, Spain). Despite of his rural ascendant, the family Cerdà was formed by experienced individuals; his grandfather and his father were part of that generations, that in full resurgence of the Catalonian economy, had joined their interests with the North-American trade. This fact, as well as his faith in progress, were the ones which encouraged the open spirit and the worries of the young Ildefons Cerdà.

He studied Latin and Philosophy in Vic, where his family took refuge during a war that took place in Spain at the 19th century (Gerra de los Malcontentos). Afterwards, he moved to Barcelona where he started his studies of Architecture, Mathematics, Nautic and Drawing at the Trade Board. He moved in 1835 to Madrid, where he studied at the Civil engineers school. He obtained the degree in 1841. He started his professional life, when he finished his studies, as an state engineer. He made works in Murcia, Teruel, Tarragona, Valencia, Gerona and Barcelona. He came into contact with the doctrines of utopian socialism of Étienne Cabet in Barcelona and he was related to Narcís Monturiol and Ramón Martí i Alsina.

His progressive ideology took him to participate actively in public life. He became Member of Parliament of Barcelona in 1850. He took place in a progressist candidacy together with Estanislau Figueras, Pascual Madoz and Jacint F. Domènech. He became major of an important battalion of the national militia and trustee of Barcelona during the Progressist two-year period.

He published his theory "Teoría General de la Urbanización", in which he tried to resolve the problems related to demographic concentration of cities and industrial development in 1867. He set out, in this treaty, the theories that he had yet applied in the Project of Interior Alteration and Barcelona Enlargement.

He was elected deputy chairman of the Barcelona Council in 1868. He contributed, when he was there to proclamate the First Republic in 1873. He was elected as President of the Council and he resigned from his charge because of the coup d'état of the General Manuel Pavía.

He died, ill and almost bankrupt because the Government owed he the fees of many works that he had made as an engineer, the 21st of August of 1876 in a spa in las Caldas del Besaya in Santander. He was the father of the famous harp instrumentist Clotilde Cerdà i Bosch.

Main Works
1859 - Teoría de la Construcción de Ciudades,. 
1861 - Teoría de la Viabilidad Urbana y Reforma de la de Madrid. 
1863 - Teoría del Enlace del Movimiento de las Vías Marítimas y Terrestres. 
1867 - Teoría General de la Urbanización. 
? - Teoría General de la Rurización.

Bibliography
· Bassols, M., "Ildefons Cerdà davant l'ordenació jurídica de l'urbanisme: aportacions i anticipacions", First International Working days. Cerdà, urbs i territori, 1995.
· Cerdà, I., 1867, Teoría General de la Urbanización. Reforma y Ensanche de Barcelona, Instituto de Estudios Fiscales, 1968.
· Cerdà, urbs i territori, exhibition catalogue with the same name, 1994.
· Soria, A., "Actualidad de la Teoría de Cerdà", I Jornadas Internacionales. Cerdà, urbs i territori, 1995
 

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