Spanish City Planning in North America

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9780262030816: Spanish City Planning in North America
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There are few purely Renaissance cities in Europe, for experiments with new urban ideas were generally constrained by the existence of older city fabrics. But the New World offered a clean slate, and the Spanish conquests and settlements led to the building of almost 350 new cities in accordance with a set of edicts, The Laws of the Indies, that embodied Renaissance concepts of urban form: regular street patterns, harmonious groupings of major institutions around large central open spaces, and provisions for orderly expansion.

In examining North American Spanish cities, this book presents a neglected aspect of American urban history. It opens with an annotated translation of Phillip II's Laws of the Indies, making available for the first time in book form "the most influential body of urban law in human history." It then presents studies of the urban history of Santa Fe, Los Angeles, and St. Louis. Even today, under the successive waves of population sprawl and industrialization in these cities, the bare outlines of Spanish Colonial planning can be detected, which still affects the ebb and flow of daily life.

A final section of the book discusses the gradual breakdown in the first part of the 19th century of traditional Spanish patterns of city design, as exemplified in Monterey and San Jose. Illustrations include plans, maps, and early views that show the stages of development and reveal the founders' dreams of future prospects.

Dora P. Crouch is an architectural historian affiliated with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Daniel J. Garr is a planner and planning historian at San Jose State University, and Axel I. Mundigo is an urban sociologist with the Population Council in Mexico City.

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Dora P. Crouch
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