The Eixample or the “extension” of the city was constructed around the 19th and early 20th centuries to provide housing for the increasing population of Barcelona during this time period. Ildefons Cerdà who saw an amazing chance to revolutionize the way that the city of Barcelona was organized, designed the layout of his Eixample keeping into consideration traffic, sunlight, ventilation and the health of the citizens. The apartment buildings were designed in a clean and orderly way into standardized quadrangular blocks with strict building controls. The buildings were to be built on only two sides giving access a shady square or garden in between. The houses could only be built to a standard height as well so that all apartments in some moment of the day receive sunlight and ventilation. Unlike the overcrowded Medieval part of Barcelona, or the then separated city of Gracia, the Eixample would have wider streets to optimize the use of the Mediterranean sunlight and decongest the streets. The streets broaden at every intersection making for greater visibility, better ventilation and some parking space. It is a shame though, that Cerdà’s vision wasn’t constructed as he had envisioned. Private developers who were the ones that built the Eixample constructed the space as they saw fit with Cerdà’s planning as more of a suggestion rather than an actual blueprint. Many of the buildings have levels that were built on top of the original buildings and few inner gardens are existent today. Nevertheless, the area is still revolutionary and thanks to Cerdás original idea, you can find some of the most charming and convenient apartments in the entire city. These apartments tend to be much more spacious than those located in any other parts of the city. The principal floor was born in this area which is the floor right above the ground floor and tends to be the largest apartment in the building. Some of the apartments on the top floor still have rooftop terrace gardens. Today, the Eixample is an ideal place to live in the city. You can enjoy the spacious apartments with very characteristic traits like high ceilings or original mosaic floors. Large windows in the living rooms make use of the fact that sunlight reaches these apartments (unlike in the more historical parts of the city). The crowning street in this district is the chic Passeig de Gracia. This is where some of the most affluent of the city used to live and where some of the most famous houses are located such as the Casa Batlló or the Pedrera, designed by Antoni Gaudi. There are important stores lining the Passeig de Gracia and it is a focus point in the city for many important events like La Mercé or Sant Jordi, or the newer annual event, the Barcelona Shopping Night. The Eixample area is an ideal area to live, to explore the historical parts of Barcelona but come back to a modern and comfortable apartment. It is a safe area, great for traveling with children and great if your goal is sightseeing shopping and enjoying the Barcelona gastronomy.