In the latter part of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth, various attempts were made to ‘modernize’ the city of Málaga (southern Spain) in terms of structural and built environment. These efforts originated from different groups at different times and with varying degrees of success but they had, as their principal motive, a shared desire to advance the image of the city against a background of political unrest and significant economic decline from mid-nineteenth century prosperity. With this objective in mind, there was a shared perspective that the visual appearance of the city and its morphological structure had to be modernized. However, in detail, the specific schemes proposed reflected the diverse ideologies and objectives of their chief protagonists although the generic term Málaga Moderna came to be applied to a wide range of different proposals. This article will examine the development of these key actor groups and their varying impact on the city’s urban form.