Figure cities

The drawing of the street network of each city is unique, like fingerprints on a man’s hand. But despite the apparent variety, many of the modern cities were built according to the unified principles inherited from a long time. What rules were guided by city planners of Europe, USA, Latin America and China? And how these rules are reflected in the modern appearance of cities?

Where all all began

Simple geometric forms — Cross and square, with antiquity compared with four sides of the world, formed the basis of the basic layout design. The invention of the simplest rectangular grid of the streets of Antique Greeks was attributed to mathematics to Miletsky hypotum, but in fact it was used long before his birth. In the strict geometric grid, the Greeks brought the multiplicity of the size of the quarter and the house, in accordance with such rules, new Greek cities were built. In the era of Hellenism in the city plan, straight and wide main streets with colonnades, large squares, gardens and galleries appeared.

Greek city planning solutions adopted Roman architects, and during the Roman Empire, antique urbanism reached his heyday. Although the radial street system has already developed in the Rome itself, the new Roman cities were built on a rigorous plan: two main roads focused on the sides of the world, at right angles divided the city into four parts and went to the city gate. Typical Roman layout still can be traced in the central quarters of Barcelona.

Medieval labyrinths

With the decline of the Roman Empire, the Middle Age, when the cities of Europe were subjected to destructive raids of barbarians. To protect the settlement surrounded with thick walls, shafts and bastions — The role of the urban planner moved to the military engineer. Cities turned out to be locked inside the protective structures, and their further territorial growth was stopped for some time. The territory inside the fortress walls and the shafts began to grieve tightly, the highways became already, changed a straight trajectory and twisted. Streets appeared, where it was difficult to break even together, gardens and decorative vegetation disappeared. So the old town’s popular tourist was formed, the typical planning of which was determined by the modern appearance of the central part of many European cities, such as Cologne, Marseille, Bremen, and others.

Figure cities


Soon the city began to choke in the tightness of protective structures where the plague and fever flourished, the problems of transport accessibility and fire safety were copied. The period of complex modernization of medieval urban layout and infrastructure has come. This long and expensive process affected primarily large European megalopolises. The first such city became Rome, where it was necessary to resolve the issue of moving pilgrims between religious shrines. So from Piazza-del Popolo, through which the majority of travelers passed, three radiation highways were separated into the center of Rome — Via del Corso, Via del Babuino and Via Di Ripetta, still preserved in terms of the city.

With the development of military affairs, the solid line of fortification has lost its importance, the strengthening was carried out beyond the settlement. In the place of the demolished walls and flooded shafts, annular boulevards were arranged everywhere. Nevertheless, not only significant resources were required for a larger reconstruction, but also supporting state power. The most famous example was the modernization of medieval Paris, successfully implemented by its prefect Baron Osman with Solid Support Napoleon III. As a result of large-scale changes, wide prospectuses were laid through medieval quarters of Paris, boulevards appeared with a smooth building of buildings. Significant efforts were aimed at creating squares and parks, arrangement «Easy Paris» — Boulogo and Vienna Forest. Osmanization of Paris largely identified the modern appearance of the city, which retained his love for the radial-ring layout and direct highways.

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