La Plata, Argentina

La Plata is the capital of the Buenos Aires province in Argentina. It is a planned city founded in 1882 and designed by Pedro Benoit to a rationalist design. Notably in Argentina, it strayed from the Law of Indies, posing a modern, secular attitude (Benoit was also a Freemason).

The square city is fractally designed, and is divided into a 6×6 grid of square megablocks, each with a 6×6 grid of square blocks. Additionally, two major diagonals cross through the square city, and additional diagonals boxing the inner 2×2 megablocks in another square. Each intersection of major streets features a park (not churches), although few look suitable for organized sport/playgrounds. It has an ortho-radial grid, with “implict” block subdivision from the diagonal streets, and grid deformation on the outskirts with street extensions. Finally, a ring road surrounds the city for a degree of discrete separation.

Evidently, the city is precisely and intentionally designed, with the grandeur of a planned capital, and it is known for being pedestrian friendly (as one could suspect from the external-facing, dense nature of the buildings). Interestingly, however, the blocks themselves are very heterogenous, with unordered jumbles of buildings, some with an inner courtyard that is only accessible through building back entrances. This is in contrast to Brasilia, designed later, and catering towards the automobile.

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