Today, Spain is a major European capital, a bustling city that attracts millions of tourists each year. But back in 1850, the Spanish port town was on the brink of collapse due to the medieval walls that were hemming it in.
So the city hired engineer Ildefons Cerda to expand and update the city. Cerda invented urbanization and turned Barcelona into the first modern city.
He spaced the city on a grid, instated Barcelona’s unique octagonal blocks, and created room for markets, hospitals, and schools amongst the crowded apartment blocks.