Sustainability and mobility are the keys to 21st century urbanism which has its sights set on a clear objective: to adapt to people, their needs and demands, thus making them the central axis of new developments. This means taking a leap and leaving behind the city models of the last century, already exhausted and focused on fossil fuels, to start laying the first stones of a flexible urbanism that accompanies society in the changes and that promotes the economic reactivation. The premises, which seem simple, try to be put into practice in the largest urban project in Europe: Madrid New North (MNN), which is set to be zero emissions by 2050.
“The city of the 21st century is a sustainable city by necessity, it is an obligation towards future generations”, he assured this Monday Miguel Hernandez, Director of Strategy and Corporate Development of the Castellana Norte District (DCN), at the «ABC Madrid Capital Forum. Sustainable urbanism as the key to recovery: the example of Madrid Nuevo Norte ». “Society changes, and it does so quickly. Not even the most visionary is capable of imagining the city we are going to. In urban planning, the decision we make remains forever, so we must make decisions that do not mortgage the future societies, if we do not, we will weigh on its development, “continued the representative of the project promoter.
For him, the change of era in the sector translates into design from the individual and in understanding sustainability from three pillars: the social, the economic and the environmental, always conjugated. Regarding this last point, Hernández has assured that MNN will be “a clean district in carbon and zero emissions in the year 2050”. For this reason, they will try to obtain the two most demanding seals in terms of sustainability: the BREEAM and LEED certifications, which cover these three issues, thus becoming the first urban plan registered to achieve both qualifications. «As for the social, we have installed Offices to collect all the suggestions of the neighbors in the area. On the economic side, we must be efficient in resources, “he continued. The intention of the promoter DCN is to create a large information center and citizen participation, whose design and location are already being worked on.
Beside him has been sitting Flavio Tejada, Director of Cities at Arup and director of the Master in Real Estate Development IE University, who has underlined the importance of using the appropriate tools to face the challenges of today’s society. «We are in a climate emergency. The old instruments do not have the capacity to respond and, furthermore, society does not want to be a passive agent in the process of building the city, it wants to participate ”, he stated. MNN is in his opinion the new urbanism paradigm, which leaves the last century behind and focuses on responding to the new global environment by producing talent thanks to the interaction of people. “The pandemic changes have appeared more necessary than ever. The city of the 21st century and new developments have to be socially inclusive, we must design taking into account all the actors and putting in place mechanisms that include the opinion of all in future constructions “, he insisted:” It is no longer designed based on use, but based on people and their activities. We need to understand the city as a space for convergence».
The MNN project, approved after thirty years of negotiations and changes, is the greatest European development of the next decades and is expected to set future trends. “If we are not able to win the fight against climate change in a new city like MNN, how are we going to ask the rest of the city to decarbonize? “Tejada wondered. The plan will create 200,000 jobs in the construction phase and 150,000 in the exploitation phase, contributing 15,200,000 euros to the START, according to the data handled by DCN.
The first stones are already being laid and they go through restructuring the property and redeveloping the 1,000 owners who now have their homes in the north of the capital. The redevelopment phase will last two years. The first work will focus on bury the tracks from the Chamartín station and build on its surface a big park of 13 hectares, a new green lung that will begin to take shape in 2021.
Javier Herreros, founding partner with Ana Riaza from RH Arquitectos, has added the importance of mobility to the equation. «We have been carried away by strict functionality to move fast, but we must be more ambitious. With the strength of public transport, pedestrian and cycling routes we will discover the human scale of the city and generate urban comfort», He assured, emphasizing the need to develop three concepts: identity, maintaining the footprints of each city and linking them to sustainability; beauty, achieving balance and being resilient; and nature as an element with which to live. «Madrid Nuevo Norte is moving towards combining development areas with residential and work areas. A place rich in experiences ”, he concluded.
«The function of the city is to offer the inhabitants the greatest range of opportunities in the easiest way », he said, for his part, Juan Alayo, a consultant in Urban Strategy, who has focused on the challenge of reconciling what already exists with what is new, and on attracting talent: «We must look at the city as a living element that it needs a constant revitalization in its fabric and to make sure that it responds to what the citizens want. At the urban environment level, quality is essential to attract talent and make that talent more productive.
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