18 May 2021
for Madrid Nuevo Norte
Madrid Nuevo Norte is called to play the leading role in the Madrid of the future. This is reflected in the book “The New Madrid”, the tenth book in the Foro Madrid Debate collection, published by the digital publication Madridiario, which was presented today at the headquarters of the Professional Association of Architects of Madrid (COAM) and that goes over the main actions that will transform the capital in the coming years. The book analyses 23 projects, starting with the most important one: Madrid Nuevo Norte .According to the publication, “This macro-project, currently the largest in Europe, will change the north of Madrid, its communications and the connection between neighbourhoods that up to now have been isolated from each other.”
To explain what Madrid Nuevo Norte consists of and why it will be an upheaval for the city, the Technical Business Director of Distrito Castellana Norte (DCN), Jorge Serrano, participated in the first Housing and Urban Planning Conference organised by Madridiario, coinciding with the presentation of the book. Serrano shared a table with two other projects that are aimed at improving Madrid in the coming years. In a round table discussion moderated by the founder of Madridiario, the journalist Constantino Mediavilla, the Offices director of Merlin Properties, Fernando Ferrero, explained what Renazca, the renovation project for the Azca office area, consists of; and Manuel Cifuentes, architect and head of Infrastructure of Atlético de Madrid, spoke in depth about Operation Mahou Calderón.
Jorge Serrano summarised the essence of Madrid Nuevo Norte along three main axes, which gives this project its innovative and transformational nature. Firstly, he explained, “it is an urban regeneration project, which is to say, it arises to fill in gaps that have remained within the city and sew together neighbourhoods that are currently isolated. Madrid Nuevo Norte is about making a city”. In recent decades, Madrid has been growing northwards, around the railway land surrounding Chamartín Station, and a void has been created. Madrid Nuevo Norte will occupy this empty space, a model that contrasts with the expansive urban planning that spreads cities to the detriment of nature, with all of the environmental, social and economic drawbacks that this produces.
Secondly, according to the technical director of Distrito Castellana Norte, Madrid Nuevo Norte has the ambition to generate the main pole of economic attraction of the capital, with the creation of a large business district that will lift Madrid into the league of the great world cities that compete to attract investment and talent. Two unbeatable characteristics of the business district of Madrid Nuevo Norte are the enormous connectivity of its location and the urban planning model used in its design: “It will be a business district, but not a downtown that shuts down at night or on weekends. Along with offices, there will be a large amount of housing, shops, services, public facilities, green areas and everything else you might need,” explained Serrano. The mix of uses, as the coexistence of tertiary, residential, educational, leisure, sporting, etc. activities in the urban space is defined, encourages spaces that are alive at all hours of the day and night, every day of the week. It also improves the quality of life of residents and visitors by offering the possibility of satisfying their needs without having to travel great distances.
A compact city is a sustainable city
For this reason, Serrano insisted, “the third axis of Madrid Nuevo Norte is sustainable mobility, a mobility that combines a strong commitment to public transport with the promotion of soft mobility, i.e. bicycles, scooters and pedestrians”. A business district like the one proposed by Madrid Nuevo Norte, which hopes to serve as a benchmark in terms of sustainability and innovation, cannot allow private vehicles to play a leading role as the preferred means of access. “We are going to make a great effort in public transport infrastructure because what we want to do is to reverse the existing mobility paradigm in the north of Madrid,” he said. The goal of the project’s mobility plan is for 80% of travel movements to be made using public transport or soft mobility, as opposed to 20% by polluting private vehicles.
Madrid Nuevo Norte has the advantage of the connection potential of Chamartín Station, where there will be a multimodal transport interchange linking long, medium and short-distance rail, Cercanías commuter rail, Metro, urban and intercity buses, as well as a ground-breaking platform for a high-capacity bus, with traffic-light priority, which will cover the entire area.
If a good public transport system is needed for people to forgo private car travel, to stimulate the soft city, the travel required to reach services must be manageable. This is achieved with the compact and mixed-use city model that is the basis of Madrid Nuevo Norte.