General Theory of Urbanization (Volume II)

How can we translate the Big Data of the 19th Century?

In 1867, with the Industrial Revolution well underway, the engineer Ildefons Cerdà, author of the Plan for the Reform and Extension of Barcelona, published his General Theory of Urbanization. It was the first book in history in witch the process of designing and building cities was systematically analyzed and feigned as a science.

Today, in the midst of the digital revolution, at a time when the urbanization of the planet is still in full swing and we are facing new collective challenges, we are presenting the first full English translation of the Theory and publishing its statistical and analyses in graphs and interactive maps as an open data platform.

While the first volume sets the basis of the Theory, the second part contains an exhaustive statistical description of Barcelona in 1867. The book has been digitised and translated into machine readable format -more than 700 pages and 100 tables. The information has been visualised, providing a context and a description to each table (putting together several data that was unstructured in the original volume). The urban data from 1867 and 2017 has been also compared by means of a 3d model.

The project has a strong commitment to openness. This is the reason, the complete series of data sets has been published in open standards. An internal visualization tool enables the users to make their own graphics.

Editor: Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia
In association with: Diputació de Barcelona, Generalitat de Catalunya-Incasol
In collaboration with: CCCB, Bloomberg Philantropies
Curator of edition: Vicente Guallart
Completion: 2017
Link to the project ->

Posted in humanities-featured
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