Amsterdams famous urban fabric is developed during the Golden Age. The three main canals were dug in the 17th century from concentric belts around the city, known as the Grachtengordel. The canals were planned as a residential area for the elite of Amsterdam, with large plots and with a hierarchy in which the inner cannel was the most expensive. It was an extensive project during several decades and a successfull outcome of city planning. Nowadays these canals are one of the most impressive and vivit areas of the city.
Barcelona had the highest population density of Europe in the beginning of the 19th century. Extention of the city was therefore essential. Ildefons Cerda designed the extension of Barcelona called the Eixample. His designs belie a network-oriented approach which was far ahead of his time. His street layout and grid plan were optimized to accommodate different kinds of transportation, gas supply and large-capacity sewers to prevent frequent floods. Spacious “chamfered corners” achieved by bevelling the corners of the square blocks and making them octagonal. Nowadays 1,200 square-like crossroads permit loading and unloading without impeding the flow of traffic. The Avinguda Diagonal cuts the rationalist grid.
The urban fabric of Paris is heavily influenced by Haussmann, the prefect of the Seine. In the mid-ninteenth century, Napoleon III assigned Haussman as urban planner for Paris. The reason for this large-scale plan is different (plumbing, military and show), but the main goal was to achieve breakthroughs through the slums and to reduce congestion. Haussmann’s plan was extensive with large the boulevards linking train stations with the main roads and intersections in areas outside the center. As a result it gave Paris its distinctive look. The urban fabric of Paris express power and majesty as being the capital of France.
NEW YORK CITY
The Manhattan grid is one of the most famous city plans. Simeon De Witt, Gourverneur Morris and John Rutherfors designed the model in 1807 that would ensure for the final and conclusive occupancy of Manhatten. They composed the plan that seperated the island in 12 avenues running north-south and 155 streets running east-west. The only exception was Broadway, the most important trade route. Ultimaltely they divided the island in 2,028 blocks: a matrix that would capture all the remaining territory for the future. The Manhattan Grid.