terça-feira, 22 de março de 2016

Cidades ex-novo: Filadélfia 1682

Deu no The Guardian / Cities
22-03-2016, por Emily Mann

Story of cities #7: Philadelphia grid marks birth of America's urban dream

A Portraiture of the City of Philadelphia (1683),
by Thomas Holme. Illustration: HCQC
William Penn’s city was planned as a utopian ideal; a grid of broad streets to promote green urban living for settlers to this 17th-century colony. While Penn grew disillusioned, his design lives on in Philadelphia, and around the world


Penn – a well-connected Englishman who made it his mission to create a refuge in America for Quakers and other persecuted religious groups from Europe – was prone to celebrating his colony as a free gift from God. In fact, Philadelphia’s construction depended on a cunningly negotiated deal with the English king.

In March 1681, a cash-strapped Charles II, unable to repay a debt owed to Penn’s late father Adm Sir William Penn, instead made the young heir sole owner of 45,000 square miles of land south-west of New Jersey and north of Baltimore – the king assuming, in a god-like fashion typical of British imperial monarchs, that the territory was his to give. As a feudal-style proprietor, Penn could in turn grant out land as he saw fit.

Filadélfia 1777
Within a month, he published the first in a series of promotional tracts with the aim of generating investor interest in his plan to “settle a free, just and industrious colony”. His promised land guaranteed freedoms, rights and liberties – for white Europeans at least. The first cargo of enslaved Africans sold fast to his settlers on its arrival in 1684.