European urbanism in Caracas (1870s-1930s)

Marte, Arturo Almandoz (1996). European urbanism in Caracas (1870s-1930s). PhD thesis The Open University.



The research focuses on the transfer of European urban ideas into Caracas, from Antonio Guzman Blanco's urban reforms in the 1870s to the proposal of the 1939 Plan Monumental de Caracas, devised under the guidance of the French urbanist Maurice Rotival. Considering that the emergence of urbanism cannot be reduced to its mere technical contents - especially in the backward context of the Venezuela of that period - the research traces not only the transfer of urbanistic ideas, but also the importation which took place in the domains related to the Caraquenians' urban culture and urbanity. At the same time, that urban transfer is not reduced to a deterministic effect of economic dependence, but is rather regarded as a component of the cultural relationship maintained by the Venezuelan elite with the most advanced countries of North Atlantic capitalism.

By tracing the transfer of urban ideas from Europe into Caracas - which remains the core issue of the research -a parallel question is explored: the reconstruction of the primary stages which articulated the urban debate in Venezuela and underpinned modern urbanism as a discipline, a process which apparently occurred against that European background. This reconstruction involves three episodes - the urban art of the Guzmanian city, the hygiene and progress of the belle Opoque and the monumental urbanism of the democratic capital - which are presented as components of a European-oriented cycle in the history of Caracas.

In order to trace that transfer and reconstruct those episodes, the research combines four types of urban discourse: the legal, political and administrative texts, the urban literature, the travel chronicles and general descriptions, and technical literature about urbanism. The interlacement of such a catalogue of specialized and non-specialized sources claims to be an innovation of the research.

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  • Item ORO ID
  • 57635
  • Item Type
  • PhD Thesis
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
  • Associated Research Centre
  • Architectural Association School of Architecture
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 1996 The Author
  • Depositing User
  • ORO Import