Author | Tania AlonsoAt the end of the 15th century, over 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci designed his ideal city. An optimised and clean urban space, designed to offer the best services for its citizens. Although it never materialised, his ideas were fundamental for designing other urban layouts.The transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance led thinkers to stop looking above and listening to God’s commands, and to focus on the numerous problems and requirements down on Earth. Many of these, as is the case today in some cities, were steadily increasing.The recovery of urban planningDuring the 15th century, the Plague killed almost one third of Europe’s population. While the causes were being analysed and the consequences assessed, many began to question the organisation of medieval cities. Anarchist systems full of narrow, dirty and poorly ventilated streets, in which people, animals and waste would accumulate. Unhealthy environments that were perfect for the spread of infectious diseases.Hygiene was not the only problem. Transport was becoming a problem in urban areas, slowing down the growth of commerce. Redesigning the layout and the goals of cities became a priority. Therefore, when the humanist movement looked back to rescue forgotten disciplines from the classical era, they did not forget about urban planning.The organisation of cities went back to being based on a rational planning model. The Renaissance ideal valued public spaces, which were becoming more significant with regard to private buildings. The streets became wider and were organised around squares and open environments.During the 1480s, Leonardo da Vinci dedicated part of his work to resolving urban planning problems. He designed an ideal city that would solve the health problems and transport difficulties. However, the city designed by the Renaissance inventor was never built, and it is believed that part of his inventions were forgotten. However, thanks to some layout designs in the Paris manuscript B and the Codex Atlanticus, some of his most innovative ideas can be reconstructed.
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