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Town planning versus urbanismo

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The point of departure of this article is the contrast drawn by Giorgio Piccinato between ‘Anglo‐Saxon' town planning and ‘Latin' urbanism, one based on rational method and theory of planning as intervention, the other on architecture, urban morphology and project‐based action. Gordon Cherry and Oriol Bohigas represent the two poles of the dichotomy – Cherry because of the emphasis he placed on separation from architecture in the professional emergence of the UK's Royal Town Planning Institute, Bohigas because of his equally insistent emphasis on reintegrating planning with its mother discipline. The paper sets Bohigas and the regeneration of Barcelona into the wider context of a postmodern urbanism troubled by the neighbouring internecine rivalry between modernist and traditionalist architects. It is argued that Barcelona's most distinctive contribution is less the replacement of ‘plans' by ‘projects' than its reconciliation of modernism and contextualism, a lesson duly acknowledged in the Anglo‐Saxon planning world through an award of the RIBA Gold Medal. This narrative of the triumph of urbanism ends with the RTPI's acceptance that making place and mediating space are at the heart of town planning.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Environment & Development, University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK

Publication date: 2006-07-01

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