Revealed: Ildefons Cerdà’s muse

Barcelona’s Eixample district slots humans into a grid of stacked cuboids; it often smells of poo. It is no surprise, then, to discover that its planner, Ildefons Cerdà, was born on a large pig farm. (It’s just outside Centelles which, like the rest of the region, continues to ignore European law by spraying on slurry instead of injecting it into the ground. The shepherd said to me: “It’s still cold, but you can smell spring in the air.” Er, no, actually.)

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