LUISA FERNANDA BALSERO MARTINEZ
ThIS post tries to make a brief summary of the aims, objectives of the project, advantages and criticisms from different points of view of its development.
After 25 years of planning and agreement processes between the interested parties, the General Urban Development Plan was approved in September 2018, which includes the Madrid Nuevo Norte Project, with Manuela Carmena as Mayor of Madrid.
The Madrid Nuevo Norte project, broadly speaking, tries to cover a series of actions that allow for a balance in environmental, economic, social and territorial sustainability, which for the most part includes the urban planning of that area.
Madrid Nuevo Norte includes the Chamartín Station and its surroundings, Fuencarral-Tres Olivos, Fuencarral-Malmea and Las Tablas.
Picture 1. General layout of the project.
These actions include the construction of new housing, of which approximately 20% will be for official protection, the development of open spaces and green areas, with 15 kilometres of cycle paths and improved means of transport, accessibility and new skyscrapers and office buildings, one of them 250m high, which will become the highest in Spain.
As it is a project that also intervenes in an improvement in Chamartín station, it produces a greater protagonism in it by turning it into the largest multimodal communication node and connectivity centre by means of the railway, high speed and link with the airport, guaranteeing a new benchmark station in Europe.
Adif, taking advantage of the proximity of the station to the airport plans the possibility of making a direct connection between the two, the Ministry of Public Works is also in the job of connecting the Chamartín Station and the Atocha Station to be advantageous.
The project is divided into four zones: Chamartín Station, the Business Centre, Malmea-San Roque-Tres Olivos and Las Tablas Oeste and aims to integrate the isolated neighbourhoods of Fuencarral, Las Tablas, Tres Olivos, among others; create public spaces and green areas for leisure and enjoyment, generate sustainable mobility and cross-connections, the construction of a housing area with high energy efficiency and modern office buildings, as well as the remodelling of Chamartín Station as the main axis, this remodelling will be put out to tender to obtain ideas according to the Ministry of Development.
The estimated investment of the project is around 6,000 million Euros.
This project stands out for the improvements in mobility and connectivity in the northern area of Madrid.
The mobility part can be summed up as the location along the entire area that includes the project for new Priority Use Bus stops and three new subway stations. The mobility design emphasizes connecting neighborhoods from east to west with three bridges, two of them on Las Tablas, the third on Herrera Oria Avenue, as well as the construction of a tunnel and a pedestrian walkway.
The traffic will circulate in underground sections, it is commented on some reorders of the traffic of the North of the city in the node of Manoteras that will help to make more fluid this one.
On the other hand, it has been highly criticised by experts, the “Madrid Nuevo Norte Project”, arguing that the real reason for this project is for political interests and for its generalist way of dealing with mobility issues, implying that no environmental impact study or mobility plan could have been done.
There are some who take the view that the definition of the project is very simple and that it should propose different approaches and firmly believe that densifying what is already densified is not ideal.
Others speak of the culture of the “pelotazo”, based on convenience between landowners and Public Administrations, which sometimes moves away from the General Interest, with typical signs of a “pelotazo” such as massive building without space, luxury real estate products that lack social interest, among others.
As far as we can see, Madrid Nuevo Norte is a project that aims to create a reference in Urban Planning, where the centre of Businesses will be the Northern area, which will acquire a great prominence, but also highly questioned for its dubious purpose in terms of integrally social interest for certain expert critics.