Plans to create a 145,000 square metre ‘urban forest’ in the Spanish capital Madrid are one step closer after the city selected two architecture firms – West 8 and Porras Guadiana – out of 40 applicants.
The Madrid Nuevo Norte project aims to reinvent the city’s northern rail station and surrounding districts, and is one of Europe’s largest urban renewal initiatives.
The scheme will radically transform transit from a car-centric model to more sustainable modes and shift the urban landscape from concrete to greenery.
Speaking to capitaltribunenews.com on the sidelines of the Global Mobility Call in Madrid, Lola Ortiz Sanchez, the city’s General Director of Planning and Mobility Infrastructure, said: “Now we’re at the stage where we’re looking at how to develop new infrastructure in this area – everything from the metro, train and bike lanes.
“By developing a north-south axis we’ll connect the city’s bike lanes, and this will be a great backbone for cyclists.
“We’re also going to incorporate the high-speed train system and rapid bus transit – so we’ll have to adapt a lot of infrastructure in a short period of time.”
According to Distrito Castellana Norte – the urban transformation company promoting Madrid Nuevo Norte – the park will reduce temperatures by between three to four degrees and will have a layout inspired by the legacy of the railway landscape of the district.
“The project has been in development for almost 25 years, but the planning permits were only issued two years ago,” added Jorge Serrano, Technical Director, Distrito Castellana Norte.
“We’re at the design phase now, starting to develop the project.
“One of the big ideas is that we’re developing a central business district (CBD) around the station. Madrid doesn’t have a proper CBD as you have in London or Paris, and we’re counting on transport connectivity to help build this.”
The main construction phase of the project is expected to start in two years’ time.
Madrid’s Mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida has said the initiative will put the city “on the map of cities of the future, based on innovation and sustainability”.
In keeping with this sustainability drive, and to comply with EU limits on air pollution, the city developed Madrid 360 in 2020.
The sustainability strategy aims to revolutionise mobility in a city where almost 80 percent of all trips are made by car, and just 1.9 percent of these vehicles are hybrid or electric.
It comprises over 200 initiatives to boost the amount of public transport on offer, improve infrastructure, promote active mobility and ultimately reduce emissions.
Next year authorities will start enforcing the first phase of Madrid’s newly revamped low emissions zone (LEZ), which will be gradually introduced in stages before covering the whole city by 2025.
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