, Volume 51, Issue 1–2, pp 57–63 | Cite as

Barcelona's planning strategies: from 'Paris of the South' to the 'Capital of West Mediterranean'

  • Francisco Javier Monclús


Planning strategies in Barcelona are linked to its capital city aspirations. Like other European cities, capitals and non-capitals, Barcelona throughout the course of the 20th century has drawn upon a number of different planning strategies, directed towards reinforcing its prestige at both a national and international level. During this period Barcelona has sought to become Spain's second capital, ‘the’ cultural capital, ‘the’ industrial capital, capital of Catalonia, capital of the West Mediterranean, etc. Always in competition with Madrid, the aspirations of capital status ranking have been ambiguous. The dream of the great monumental Barcelona of the start of the century tried to emulate the European capital cities (especially Paris). By contrast more recent strategies emphasise the new role that Barcelona can play within a south-west European macro-region. The subject raised in this paper then is two-fold. On the one hand the continuity or not in the capital aspiration starting from the recuperation of Catalonia's autonomy, with its corresponding urbanistic and architectonic connotations. On the other hand the originality and analogies between strategies carried out in Barcelona, in relation to other European cities, capitals and non-capitals.

Barcelona capital cities city beautification planning history urban images 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francisco Javier Monclús
    • 1
  1. 1.Polytechnic University of CataloniaBarcelonaSpain

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