European urbanism in Caracas (1870s-1930s).
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.