(image: Bilbao master plan, 1876. Source: wikipedia)
On 19th century, Spain was one of the leaders in urban development. In almost all towns, a grid-shaped extension (Ensanche) was planned, and in almost all towns, the Ensanche is one of the most vibrant districts.
(photo: plaza de Habana in Gijon. Source: Microsoft Virtual Earth)
150 jears later, Spain still follows the same model. Since 1992, almost all towns in Spain started building new neighborhoods, following the principles of the ancient Ensanche. The result is a serie of dense, transit-oriented neighborhoods, following the principles of Smart Growth: the Eco-Compact neigborhoods.
A description of the eco-compact neighborhoods is available here.
(source: A Vision Of Europe)