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The dialogic constitution of model cities: the circulation, encounters and critiques of the Barcelona model in Latin America

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Gabriel SilvestreORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Model cities are exemplary cases representing a particular policy and/or practice approach. The external gaze is a necessary condition in the attainment of such prestige and city leaders often engage in promotional activities to boost the reputation of their cities while audiences attempt to translate references into usable knowledge. However, there has been limited attention to how external audiences are implicated in the ‘modelling’ process, as promoters refine their strategies through encounters of knowledge exchange and through critical reflection. This article examines the backstories of the connections that have facilitated the circulation of planning practices developed in Barcelona as a model for Latin American cities. We use the notion of retro-transfer to consider not only the activities of Catalan promoters in the region, but also the implications of these encounters to subsequent circulations, exemplifying a more complex dynamic in the transnational flows of planning knowledge. We argue that this approach is required to appreciate how models are constituted through a dialogic process involving both ‘exporters’ and ‘importers’. In this sense, experiences with the promotion of project-led planning and strategic planning in Latin America can be seen as formative to the articulation of the Barcelona model and its subsequent travels.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Silvestre G, Jajamovich G

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Planning Perspectives

Year: 2023

Volume: 38

Issue: 2

Pages: 305-327

Online publication date: 04/07/2022

Acceptance date: 19/06/2022

Date deposited: 04/07/2022

ISSN (print): 0266-5433

ISSN (electronic): 1466-4518

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/02665433.2022.2093263


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Funder referenceFunder name
BEX 0704/12-1
PIP N° 11220130100717CO