Biography of Ildefons Cerdá i Sunyer (1816-1876)

Engineer, scientist and Spanish politician born at Centelles (Barcelona) in 1825. Belonging to a liberal family, Cerda started his engineering studies at the school of engineers of Caminos y Puertos in Madrid. In the years that lasted his formative period, from 1836 to 1841, introduced in the currents of progressive thought. This made that initially he/she was more interested in politics than in the urbanization; It was one of the visible heads of the progressive party in Barcelona. In the Catalan capital, he/she held several positions throughout his life. In 1850 he/she was elected Deputy in courts by this city.

At the time developing his political activity, Cerda followed conducting studies of urbanization. His goal was to make a science of this matter, so it was devoted entirely to consolidate their bases. In 1859, the own Queen, Isabel II, and without consultation with the authorities of Barcelona, tasked with creating a plan for the Eixample of Barcelona. Cerda was already responsible, in 1855, the preparation of the land that would serve as the ensanche. While the City Council convened a public tender for the award of the project, the Queen approved the Cerdà plan without waiting for the verdict. Anything they served the angry protests of the different local authorities, since the monarch was determined to follow their own opinion. In this way, Cerda was going to be the official father of the extension of Barcelona. Cerda, as scholar of the urbanization, showed his project in a two-volume project of reform and expansion of the city (1859) work. The first summed up the history of urbanism since antiquity, settling in one of the first historiographical texts on urban planning. Statistical data comprised the second volume, for the most part. The bristle, joined a small bourgeois socialism, progressivism emerging when it comes to strongly criticize the archaic and constructive structure of a medieval city. All the expansion project was organized by nuclei of neighborhood with school and Church. This conclusion reached bristle after a detailed sociological study of the city. Other services were often variable, depending on their degree of importance. His plan was conceived with great intelligence, without any concessions to academicism or romanticism.

In addition to the Eixample of Barcelona, its scientific aspect was completed with other important works. His urban legacy is summed up in his most important work: general theory of urbanization and application of its principles to the reform and expansion of Barcelona (1867). The urban vision of the city of Barcelona, in addition to cited works, complete with other writings: statistical monograph of the working classes of Barcelona in 1856 (1856) and draft (1855), and different annexes texts to these two. Cerda intended to raise the problems particuliares of the estate at a more abstract level of a universal theory of the construction of cities. He/She tried to develop a specific social science that end with the atavistic contradictions between technological innovation and the socio-spatial organization. He/She carried out an urban practice who was trying to overcome the imbalance between the city that exists, what he/she called the continent, and the population than the BlackBerry or content. His contribution was a pioneer in studies of urban modern. Ildefonso Cerdá died in Caldas de Besaya (Santander) in 1876.



Cerda and SUNYER, Ildefonso: General theory of urbanization, and application of its principles and doctrines to the reform and expansion of Barcelona, 2. vols. (Madrid, Imprenta Española, 1867); reprinted in 3.vols. (Barcelona, Institute of fiscal studies, 1968).


ESTAPÉ, Fabián: Life and work of Ildefonso Cerdá, in volume 2 of the General theory... (1968).SICA, PAOLO, history of urbanism. 19th century (volume 1). Institute of local Government studies. Madrid. 1981 SORIA and PUIG, Arturo: Ildefonso Cerdá, toward a general theory of urbanization. (Madrid, Turner, 1979).SORIA and PUIG, a.: Towards a general theory of urbanization. Introduction to the theoretical work of Ildefonso Cerdá. Madrid. 1979lopez DE ABERASTURI, Antonio: pour une lecture of Cerdà, CERDÀ, Ildefonso: La Théorie Générale de l'urbanisation, pp.13-65. (Paris, Éditons du Seuil, 1979).