Comparing cities: a Barcelona Model?

JAMES AMELANG
2007 Urban History  
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 political
more » ... entre. The essay closes with suggestions for future research, and stresses the need for a specifically cultural approach to the urban past. * This article has two points of departure. The first was a year-long symposium devoted to a critical examination of Catalan historiography ( 2002-03) sponsored by the Centre de Cultura Contemporània in Barcelona, and organized by Josep M. Fradera. My contribution was published as 'Peculiaritats barcelonines', in J.M. Fradera and E. Ucelay-Da Cal (eds.), Notícia nova de Catalunya (Barcelona, 2005), 39-62. The other was a paper presented to a Davis Centre seminar at Princeton University in February 2005. In both cases I am indebted to fellow participants for their suggestions and comments. I am also grateful to and especially Josep M. Fradera for reading and remarking on earlier drafts of this essay. They are not, however, to be held to account for any of the opinions expressed therein.
doi:10.1017/s0963926807004592 fatcat:beszrclffngkvfzxs7zyvb3yem