1st STAGE: THE COMERCIAL CITY
BILBAO was founded in 1300 when the territory was assigned to the Lord of Bizkaia Don Diego Lopez de Haro by the charter-Pueblo . Its geographical location and inland port enabled the pssibilities of commercial and industrial development.
Bilbao is a city which has adapted to the land it occupies with a uniform arrangement of seven parallel streets and perpendicular cantons which are conserved to this day .
The developement of the growing city is formed by the church of Santiago in the north, at the head of the wall and the extra mural construction of San Anton occupying the place of the citadel at the foot of the bridge , with the suburbs of San Nicolas ( Fishing ), Begona and Bilbao la Vieja.
The wool trade began in the plains of Castilla and crossed the Encarnations to export raw materials by sea to Northern countries and import ready made fabrics , among other products. they exported minerals from the ore mines of Ollargan(Miribilla) .
The walled city was already in need of expansion by 1442.
The first extension or "widening" of the city arose in the first half of s XVI Century to the north. New buildings such as the City Hall at St. Anton were built, and new areas such as Plaza Vieja (market) on the Ribera are generated. Houses and shops in squares, tower houses, churches, unique buildings and public spaces form the urban area in the middle of XVI. Century.
Two floods and the fire of 1571 reduced the city to rubble. Reconstruction was required, the "first building ordinance" is published, maintaining the old Gothic scheme of plots but building in stone upwards to maximise the space .
In the XVII Century the town acquires a radial structure with the addition of the "rounds" or peripheral streets and the expansion of the "widening of the Bank" to Arenal. New roads and the improvement of the slums (Bilbao la Vieja, Ibeni).
During the XVIII Century: There was little growth, apart from mansions of the local bourgeoisie and shortage of affordable housing. St. Nicholas Church.
2nd STAGE: INDUSTRIAL CITY
In the XIX Century the decline of the historic city and the creation of a new city, beyond the estuary occurs. Although, specific projects such as Plaza Nueva, which was a consequence of Loredo Plan, the combination of circumstances were such that the city needed urgent expansion.
The need for extension in Abando took shape in successive projects (the "Port of Peace" Silvestre Pérez (1801), a utopian city of Amado Lázaro (1862) ...).
In 1876 the project of Alzola, Achúcarro and Hoffmeyer is approved. On suitable land an interesting spatial scheme was created, specifying aspects of urban design, such as the formalization of the Gran Vía, location of plazas and the conservation of some accidental topographical features. Bilbao is a city on the River. The annexation of Abando took place in 1890.
In the XXCentury : The settlement of the bourgeoisie in Ensanche, the peripheral working class neighborhoods (Box and Rekaldeberri). Expansion: Begoña and Deusto (1924). Working Class neighborhoods (Garden City, Torre Urízar ...).
3rd STAGE: CITY OF SERVICES
In the postwar period a large population growth occurs due to the demand for labor, causing urban development on both sides of the river. The district of San Ignacio is a sample of medium density housing with high spatial quality.
In the sixties uncontrolled development and construction took place (intensive land use, replacing the-century old buildings for high rise blocks , indiscriminate construction on the slopes of the mountains ...). Depopulation of the Centre and the Ensanche, new uses of offices, occupying the periphery.
1983 Floods act as a trigger for the rehabilitation of the Casco Viejo. There are new spaces available by the river after the decline of industry (Abandoibarra). New outlying districts as Txurdinaga are designed with an organized urban planning.
The Land-use planning of 1995, Bilbao establishes guidelines for the future: a city of services.