The iconic octagonal grid of L’Eixample was motivated by industrial era urban-inflow and the rising nationalism of the city’s elites, who hoped to build a suitable capital for the Catalan region. The grid’s chamfered corners open up sightlines and provide community space around intersections, giving L’Eixample an airiness not found in standard gridirons.

La Plata, Argentina

La Plata, founded in 1882, is one of the last examples of a city designed (loosely) according to the Law of the Indies, which established a simple, orderly model for new developments in Spain’s colonial holdings. The goal was order, rationality, centrality, and legibility. Gridded streets centered around a church and other governmental buildings, all surrounded by agricultural land (ejido).

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