Ildefons Cerdà (1816–1876), a civil engineer, helped shape a new Barcelona that exposed the weakness of a bourgeoisie unable to execute its chosen blueprint for the city. Implementation of Cerdà's plan showed that centralized bureaucracy was supreme over economic elites. A panoptic relation was established between the geometrically centered capital and a territory that used to be a periphery. Under Eugeni d'Ors's guidance, Noucentisme imagined the city as a total work of art that began from general blueprint to public surfaces and proceeded to private spaces of domesticity. Advocating a social order that was roughly the opposite of that of Catalonia, d'Ors proposed a return to conscientious citizenship in ambiguous language that at times could be interpreted as a demand for self-governance. The goal was not to freeze history, but to project the classic attitude onto the present in order to outline a concrete version of modernity.
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