Floods and insalubrity as the trigger for city restructuring in Spain: the case of Burgos

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Bárbara Polo Martín


If we want to understand the morphological configuration of the urban space of some Spanish cities, it is necessary to research the different types of cartography that exist in the city. Among the many kinds of maps produced over time, we find a type of cartography that is a direct product of the interests on the structure of the city: the maps of civil engineers.
The topographic map of Burgos created by the civil engineers Mariano Martín Campos and Eduardo Lostau in 1894 and their sanitary project are framed within a type of cartography denominated hydrological cartography. These types of maps, which have scarcely been studied, were the result of the approach of bringing water to cities, channelling rivers, or installing sewerage systems.
This is the case of Burgos, where the urban planning was a product of the search for a solution to the floods and the insalubrity problems that had existed for decades, and of a desire, therefore, to restructure the city. In addition, as an added value, this map constitutes the first plan proposed at 1: 1,000 scale and with precise altimetry. The accuracy of this map led the civil engineers to propose it as the basis for a plan of alignments. In this way, this map is presented as the beginning of the internal (i.e., sewerage system and channelled rivers) and external (i.e., streets) restructuring of the city and an example for the rest of Spanish cities with the same problems: floods, restructuring of the streets and sanitation.


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Polo MartínB. (2018). Floods and insalubrity as the trigger for city restructuring in Spain: the case of Burgos. UPLanD - Journal of Urban Planning, Landscape & Environmental Design, 3(2), 5-14. https://doi.org/10.6092/2531-9906/6098


Archivo Municipal de Burgos, signature 18 -924

Archivo Municipal de Burgos, signature 2-505

Archivo Municipal de Burgos, signature PL- 18 -1583

Archivo Municipal de Burgos, signature PL-372

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