11 June 2020
for Madrid Nuevo Norte
The 4th edition of the CITIES Forum, “2020-2030 the decade of the cities. Ten years to transform our urban environments into spaces for life” will be held from 29 September to 1 October in Madrid. Organised by IFEMA together with the Madrid City Council, it will focus on the coming decade as a turning point for the definitive transition of our cities to the paradigm of sustainability.
With over 200 speakers and nearly 70 partner organisations, the Forum will work on an agenda focused on the best national and international practices on urban development, managing the public space, mobility, social innovation and citizen engagement, city and children and air quality, amongst others.
In between events, the Forum organises spaces for exchange and debate, including working groups and laboratories. The latter consist of meetings with experts on different topics to exchange views on issues that impact urban change.
The fourth laboratory for the preparation of this year’s event took place at the end of May. DCN participated in this virtual expert meeting open to the public. With a focus on childhood, the laboratory examined whether the cities were prepared to respond to the demands of children and to offer quality public spaces, safety and places for learning and equality.
The community enabler for DCN Social Engagement, Karina Gutiérrez, represented DCN at the meeting. During the debate entitled, ‘Diverse city. Public space for playing and learning’, the participants focused on cities in the post-COVID era. In this regards, everyone highlighted the importance of joining efforts to make cities for everyone, including children, in the so-called “new normal”.
To that end, as the developer of an urban regeneration project that will transform the capital, leading to immense changes for the residents of northern Madrid, DCN primarily spoke about citizen engagement. DCN’s Social Engagement Social Area organises multiple participatory activities that focus on childhood. “Engagement is seen as a challenge by all developers because there is still not a suitable culture for engagement. It is essential to foster it in childhood. We are pleased to be working with children because we believe that they make this project much better”.
For Madrid Nuevo Norte, it is crucial to gain insight into children’s perception of their neighbourhoods and public space. They live the city differently. “They see clearly what a city should be like to experience it. To gather their perceptions about public spaces improves the project”. The projects implemented by Social Engagement in the neighbourhoods provide the children with the opportunity to share their experiences and set forth their demands, needs and ideas about the space they inhabit. This provides greater insight into the situation of the neighbourhoods, identifying issues and working with the residents to achieve solutions.
DCN’s technical experts and children worked together thanks to projects like the creation of models such as “Europe’s tallest and most sustainable tower” or “The future of the park is in your hands”. These activities became a place to meet and share knowledge, making Madrid Nuevo Norte a project that accommodates all ages.
This is how we engage children to create a city. “The best way to let children know that you value their engagement is to show them that their views matter and their feedback has been taken into account. This motivates them”.
The actors involved in the creation of cities must join efforts to achieve a city that meets the needs of all citizens, including children. For DCN, to do so is to give real thought to a forward-looking project; a project like Madrid Nuevo Norte.