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Barcelona's Vocation of ModernityRise and Decline of an Urban Image$
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Joan Ramon Resina

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804758321

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804758321.001.0001

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The Bourgeois City

The Bourgeois City

(p.10) Chapter One The Bourgeois City
Barcelona's Vocation of Modernity
Stanford University Press

In 1848, the first railroad in the Iberian Peninsula and the eleventh in the world was inaugurated. Known as the Barcelona-Mataró line, it represented a dramatic leap in urbanization that permanently changed Catalonia's territorial and economic structures. The train made the country more cohesive by opening up remote and isolated regions to outside influence and political control. At the same time, the traditional conception of time and space was replaced by mechanized locomotion. The transformation of space due to mechanized locomotion was not illusory or a matter of perspective. The train's increasing speed condensed space, giving rise to centers that gradually detached themselves from the countryside. The metropolis was born. The railway made it possible to move commodities faster than before, boosting the financial markets. By the turn of the century, Barcelona had become the principal grain market in Spain. This was also the period in which the bourgeoisie consolidated its power.

Keywords:   railroad, Barcelona, urbanization, train, metropolis, grain market, bourgeoisie, mechanized locomotion, Barcelona-Mataró line

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