The current situation of the Cañada Real Galiana of the section that passes through Madrid is commonly known and had beginning around the 60’s. This zone, has gradually been transformed into a model of linear city of illegal settlements and a instead of littering. Nowadays, these increasingly stable more than 2,000 irregular buildings, have come to be the home of more than 8,700 inhabitants.
Pic 1. Shanties surrounded by trash (Adela González Barbado).
Along the 15 km where we can see such settlements we can find living conditions lacking of services and supplies of water, electricity, sewage, etc., definitely, unhealthy conditions for a good quality of life. But beyond the possible phenomena of marginalization that this creates, we find a great number of impacts due to its existence.
First of all, the existence of these slums has been a radical change in what is known as Cañada Real. This is defined as those paths traditionally used in transhumance in Spain, regulated since 1273 by Alfonso X the Wise, used since ancient times for pasturage. So its establishment has supposed a cut in a cattle route included in the indicative list of Unesco to be a candidate for World Heritage, reducing and even completely cancelling the possibility of this appointment.
Apart from this, the garbage accumulation around these homes leads to soil contamination due to its permeability because of the presence of leachates that can reach both surface water and groundwater. On the other hand, the illegal dumps lead to the creation of odors due to decomposition of organic matter, along with the appearance of insects and living organisms such as rodents. This leads to a health risk for the population living in the adjoining shanties being focus of infectious diseases.
They generate a significant visual impact full of mountains of garbage, mixing all kinds of waste such as plastics, glass, wood, organic waste, cardboard, debris … and its possible spread by wind or rain to the immediate environment.
Pic 2. Accumulation of garbage and debris around (Adela González Barbado).
Finally, as already mentioned, the most immediately associated impact to this type of suburbs is the economic and social barrier that they generate, as the vast majority of them are seated next to housing estates, of which many of them reflect a completely opposite quality and style of life. Financially this affects in two direct and opposite ways, on the one hand the value of land for building in nearby areas is significantly reduced, while the possible purchase of these homes or use of built facilities is directly subject to the existence of the first ones.
But how can we act in these situations? After several attempts to evictions and garbage collection, in June 2009 it was agreed the rejection of the way as a way livestock, making municipalities the responsible for its control. The Cañada Real Galiana crossing the municipalities of Coslada, Rivas-Vaciamadrid and Madrid, thus consists of three solutions. The first one, in Coslada, is the legalization of these homes and their conditioning; completely opposite to that considered by the next which proposed the collapse of them for the creation of green areas and accommodation for the needy. And finally, in Madrid they have estimated the various possible actions described for different sections of the glen. However, after seven years, it has not acted in any way and it is expected that this, for the moment, will continue the same.
ADELA GONZÁLEZ BARBADO
E.T.S.I. Caminos, Canales y Puertos.