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A series of conferences bring back the work and thought of Ildefons Cerdà

The conferences started in the Paranimph of the UB.

The conferences started in the Paranimph of the UB.

Ildefons Cerdà.

Ildefons Cerdà.

15/05/2017

Cultura

“Cerdà radiated in lots of directions; he is the one who built the current urbanism as a multidisciplinary science”. These are words by Joan Tort, UB lecturer of Geography and History, to explain the focus of the series of the first conferences on the Thought and Work by Idelfons Cerdà “Cerdà. Camins de Futur”. These conferences started on Tuesday May 16, in the Paranimph of the UB. Urban planners, architects, geographers, engineers, philologist and scholars of Ildefons Cerdà are presenting their recent researches on the builder of Eixample. The meeting is hold on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the publication of the main work of Cerdà, Teoría general de la urbanización, edited in facsimile fifty years ago, driven by the former rector of the UB Fabian Estapé.

The first lecture of the event was given by the professor of Sustainable Urbanism of the University of Westminster (and previously, professor in Australia and the United States) Michael Neuman, who has studied Cerdà’s work, and a part of his research has been carried out in Barcelona. In his lecture he showed how the ideas of the Catalan engineer, apart from his essential importance and pioneer and innovator character in the history of modern urbanism, can now contribute to solve problems in cities.

The conferences have touched on the idea of Cerdà’s urbanism, the essential role of nature in his work, and one of the key issues of his thought: the relation between public and private space, taking the neighbourhood of Bellvitge (in Hospitalet de Llobregat) as a reference. Also, other less known aspects of Cerdà’s personal life was commented on: his relationship with his daughter Clotilde –resulting from an extramarital relationship- or Cerdà’s interest in folklore and popular culture. The program includes a guided tour in the Historical Building of the UB to see Cerdà’s prints in this building, such as the distribution of the built parts and the garden areas.

Professor Tort, one of the organizers of the conferences, says the objective is for this first meeting to have continuity, since there are many aspects in Cerdà’s work with current interest and which need more study. Some examples of these are the theory of networks he developed, the relation between theory and practice in his work or how his ideas can be useful when thinking about urban integrating policies so as to prevent urban ghettos from appearing in cities. Tort remembers he had a shallow opinion of Cerdà, “very schematic”. In the late sixties his figure was recovered, and the commemoration of the Cerdà Year took place in 2009.

These conferences, which also take place in the headquarters of the Col·legi d’Enginyers de Camins, Canals i Ports (Catalan school of civil engineering), are promoted by Urbs Foundation and Territori Cerdà, created in 2009, and the Espai Cerdà from the Town Council of Centelles. Apart from the UB, the conferences count with the collaboration of the Barcelona Provincial Council and the Barcelona City Council and Agbar Foundation.

 

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