Pattern Cities writes about a video, Streetcar Ride in Barcelona, 1908
This incredible film, shot from the front of a Barcelona streetcar in 1908, demonstrates the degree to which modern society has engineered complexity out of our streets. It also provides a glimpse into how our city streets operated before the automobile went mainstream, a seminal 20th century moment that has damaged cities the world over.
But surely the streets of the 1900′s were not entirely crash-free, or as romantic as this film and its whimsical music make them out to be. Yet, the inherent complexity– the organized chaos of streetcars, pedestrians, horse-drawn carriages, and yes, motorists all mixing together–is instructive and should make any urbanist long for a time when the tyranny of the automobile didn’t dominate the project of city building.