12 May 2021
for Madrid Nuevo Norte
The Director of Corporate Development and Strategy of Distrito Castellana Norte (DCN), Miguel Hernández, today explained the main mobility strategies that will be developed in Madrid Nuevo Norte, in order to meet the objective of creating an environmentally sustainable district that offers quality of life to residents, workers and visitors.
Hernández, who participated in the International Forum for Sustainable Mobility & Smart Cities, within the framework of the business event Madrid Platform, stressed that the entire design of the project was conceived from the parameter of sustainable mobility. To do this, the relationship of the scope of the project with Madrid as a whole, Spain and other countries was analysed, highlighting the proximity of Barajas airport and Chamartín Station, the heart of the project and future main node of the country’s high-speed rail network.
Hernández pointed out that the implementation of Madrid Nuevo Norte will also improve Madrid’s internal mobility. “We have sometimes been criticised with the argument that the new buildability that is going to be generated will create more problems of traffic jams, but the numbers disprove this,” said the DCN director. The location of Madrid Nuevo Norte -specifically in the area where the Central Business District will be located- has excellent accessibility: more than 4.8 million travellers can reach it in one hour with the existing public transport infrastructure. It is the ideal location to achieve the goal of a paradigm shift in mobility, in which private and polluting vehicles occupy less and less space, and public transport and “soft” mobility, i.e., walking, cycling, scooter or other means of personal mobility is promoted. According to Luis Cabrera, Director of Energy, Sustainability and Mobility at CBRE Spain, who participated in the colloquium with Miguel Hernández, “Madrid Nuevo Norte will set a trend in mobility. Because of its size and relevance, it can influence the whole city,” he explained.
In order for this change to take place, both of the forum participants feel that it is necessary to work in two ways: on the one hand, it is essential to offer excellent public transport infrastructure, whose use does not penalise the user in comparison with cars, especially in terms of time. Secondly, it is necessary to discourage the use of private vehicles with measures such as reducing parking spaces in tertiary uses. This is what is being done in large international projects, as Hernández explained, and what has also been applied in Madrid Nuevo Norte.
No need to travel
Another one of the hallmarks of Madrid Nuevo Norte, mixed uses, is also directly related to mobility. The mix of uses – residential, tertiary, service and leisure – not only guarantees a lively city at all hours of the day and every day of the week, but also reduces the need to travel. People can have many of the things they need and enjoy within reasonable walking distance.
Hernández also explained that another one of the essential elements to create a city tailored to pedestrians and cyclists is the design of the urban landscape. “We believe that Madrid Nuevo Norte has to reflect the way of life of the 21st century”, also from the landscape point of view. It is important, for example, that the electrification of mobility does not result in sidewalks filled with electric charging points and recharging vehicles, but rather that these should be located inside buildings and not in the public space.
Work is also being done on sustainable energy generation solutions for electrified mobility. For example, as mentioned by the DCN executive, there is a ferrolineras project with ADIF, to harness the energy generated by the braking of trains to recharge electric vehicles.
In all of these aspects, technology will play a very important role in the coming years, and challenges that are currently foreseen will arise and solutions that are unthinkable today will be developed. For this reason, one of the objectives of Madrid Nuevo Norte is to avoid limiting the future possibilities of the project. “We are not soothsayers, nobody can tell how things are going to change in 20 or 30 years, and for that reason, we have to adopt flexible solutions,” explained Hernández.
One area in which this reflection is very evident is in last mile logistics. “The mobility of goods is already as important as the mobility of people,” said Hernandez. The organisation of these logistics, which will become increasingly important with the rise of e-commerce, poses a challenge for cities. Madrid Nuevo Norte has the advantage of starting from scratch, it doesn’t have to adapt the existing to the new requirements, but rather can devise innovative solutions. Along this line, in the surroundings of the future business district of Madrid Nuevo Norte, the mobility of people and goods will be separated on two levels, taking advantage of the subsoil to transport and store goods. The possibility is also being studied of using free basement space due to the reduction of parking spaces in tertiary uses to generate logistics and storage centres distributed in multiple buildings.
DCN’s Head of Strategy revealed that they are even studying the possibility of using drones to distribute goods stored in the basement floors of office buildings in the future. “It’s still early, but we would like to”. In this sense, Hernandez highlights the dual facet of innovation and sustainability of development, aspects that complement and reinforce each other. “We want Madrid Nuevo Norte to be the project of innovation and sustainability, the project of drones that simplify urban logistics and of bees that bring to the city the flowers from the hills of El Pardo”, he concluded.