From Urbanism to Planning to Urban Project. The pursuit of 'urbanity' in Spanish plans and projects


  • Javier Monclús Fraga Department of Architecture, School of Ingeneering and Architecture, University of Zaragoza
  • Carmen Díez Medina Department of Architecture, School of Ingeneering and Architecture, University of Zaragoza



Spanish urbanismo evolved from the late rise of the discipline, at the beginning of the 20th century, to the consolidation of planning in the1950s and 1960s. In its origins, it payed special attention to urban forms, but in the years of exceptional economic development – 1950s-1970s – planning became more abstract, because of the dissociation between the scales of the comprehensive plan and the more specific definition of layouts and architecture, which remained in the background. Since the end of the 1970s, the functionalist urbanism gave way to a renovated ‘architectural urbanism’, again more concerned with architectural quality of urban forms. The aim of this paper is to illustrate the recurrent, complex and sometimes contradictory ways of recovering and updating that early Spanish urbanismo which produced some of the most interesting urban tissues. We refer especially to some plans and projects corresponding to three time periods with different levels of integration among them, focusing on three Spanish cities, which can be understood as paradigmatic exemplars: Madrid, Barcelona, and Zaragoza. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the forms and tools of the, in the words of Peter Hall, ‘lost art of urbanism’, have been recovered literally. Rather, we identify in this philosophy of integrating architecture and planning an important principle of a true high quality urbanism.


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How to Cite

Monclús Fraga, J., & Díez Medina, C. (2016). From Urbanism to Planning to Urban Project. The pursuit of ’urbanity’ in Spanish plans and projects. International Planning History Society Proceedings, 17(4).