The aesthetics of the politics of a City


The Analogous Urbe: Rethinking Cerdà’s Legacy Within and Against Urbanization


A nonlinear relationship between theory and practice.

The year 1867 marks the publication of two seminal works: Marx’s Das Kapital, and Ildefonso Cerdà’s Teoría General de la urbanización. Both books shared the same belief in the emancipatory potential of science – for their authors, scientific analysis was the key tool to rethink the living conditions of their time.

he purportedly scientific content of Das Kapital and the Teoría has rarely been accepted as theory per se, and is usually seen as directly applicable knowledge, often with despicable results. But Marx and Cerdà had not aimed at scripting future protocols. They rather tried to establish new disciplines which would offer better tools for the understanding of their contemporary reality: political economy, andurbanization. A rereading of their works should therefore take into account the fundamental scientific autonomy that their authors claimed for their theoretical work. Not autonomy from practice tout court: rather, autonomy from a direct, linear relationship with practice.

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