The word urbanism comes etymologically from urbe (city) or urbano (that which belongs to the city) and is a derivative of the Latin term urbs-urbis and urbanus; the city of Rome was called Urbs. Likewise, from the Germanic declension of the root ur, comes the word burgo, related to the term bourgeois and that, at present, is also conserved in Spanish as the name of some cities.

The concept of urbanism as it is known today, associated with the planning and study of cities, was consolidated until the beginning of the 20th century. Urban planning is the discipline in charge of studying and planning cities, the regions where they are located and the behavior of their inhabitants with respect to them.

In addition to being an academic discipline, it is also a planning system that designs and models infrastructure, buildings and housing in modern society. Although urban planning is framed within sociology and architecture, it is a subject that includes the study of many disciplines, in order to achieve a complete vision of the relationship between society and urban space where it interacts.

What is urban planning? - Nelson Rafael Bustamante Abidar

Urban planning

Within urban planning, urban planning is the set of techniques used to plan and intervene in space. Urban planning is associated with the public obligation to manage the use of land, including its planning, organization, direction, control of occupation and execution of plans and works.

Among the objectives of urban planning activity are the following:

  • The promotion of a coherent and sustainable development of urban space.
  • To link in a sustainable and rational way the use of land with the use of natural resources.
  • Submitting all urban planning practices to the public interest.
  • Guarantee access to decent housing for all citizens.
  • Ensure the equipment and adequacy of urban land.
  • To legislate the right to property rights over land and its use.

Urban models

Among the best examples of urban models that we can observe in the great cities of the world, we have:

Anarchic Model: the cities of Sao Paulo and Lesbos, follow this model due to their uncontrolled growth.
Planned Model: Amsterdam and Buenos Aires maintain a premeditated grid layout where both the environment and the available resources are taken into account for its design and execution, and depends entirely on its administrators.
Centralized in a geographic point: In old cities such as Madrid and Paris, based on the arrangement of the city around a natural resource such as a river or a strategic geographic location, usual in older cities.
Model centralized in an artificial point: Common in more modern settlements such as La Paz and Morzuoga, which are characterized by having been located in a random and artificial geographic point, based on human strategic interests rather than available resources.
Vertical model: Frequent in those cities where the most common type of housing is the condominium building, such as Benidorm. These centers are characterized by a higher population density, but there is also a greater use of resources.
Horizontal model: In London their spaces were designed so that the main type of housing is single-family. They usually have a commercial, financial and tourist center in the center and, on the periphery, residential neighborhoods with wide avenues and landscaped areas.
Concentric, radial, or rectangular: Also known as a geometric pattern, cities can also be classified according to the type of plan.

What is urban planning? - Nelson Rafael Bustamante Abidar

Nelson Rafael Bustamante Abidar: Types of Urban Planning

Six types of urban planning can be distinguished according to different criteria:

  1. Housing urbanism: In charge of organizing areas of the territory destined for residential use. In this type of urban planning, the type of housing to be built in a given area is determined according to the number of people who will live there and their socioeconomic level.
  2. Industrial urbanism: Its planning seeks to organize the areas destined to house production centers, logistics or companies. They are usually developed in the form of industrial estates and tend to be on the outskirts of cities.
  3. Service or commercial urban planning: This is responsible for providing a population with the spaces and stores necessary for its supply. These zones can be integrated in the residential nuclei or on the outskirts of these.
  4. Rationalist urbanism: Coincides with the increase of the population in the cities due to the Industrial Revolution, and when the great urban development of the early twentieth century occurs. Le Corbusier was the greatest exponent of the current of rationalist urbanism, proposing a practical city model based on order around a linear layout.
  5. Tactical urbanism: This is a trend that seeks the transformation of the city towards a more pedestrian model. Planning is framed towards the subordination of the vehicle in cities in favor of the pedestrian, promoting green and public spaces, or collective transport. One of the leading exponents of tactical urbanism is Mike Lydon and one of the cities where this type of urbanism has been most applied is Barcelona, Spain.
  6. Ecological or sustainable urbanism: Consists of urban planning aimed at reducing urban heat islands, greenhouse gas emissions and, in general, improving the relationship between urban areas and the environment. The main theorist of ecological urban planning is Salvador Rueda Palenzuela, who bases this type of urban planning on four axes: