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Despite widespread interest in the 'Barcelona Model' of urban planning and architecture as of late, little is known about the city's historical development. This article suggests as a remedy more concerted efforts in comparative history. Comparison with other cities reveals three anomalies: the condition of ex-capitality; a distinctive focus on civil society as the leading dynamic in the city's evolution; and a self-image as a classic 'second city', that is, an economic as opposed to politicaldoi:10.1017/s0963926807004592 fatcat:beszrclffngkvfzxs7zyvb3yem