We live in a world of immediacy, extreme connectivity and technology. These new variables have resulted in a profound transformation of our lifestyle and environment.
Does this mean that location no longer has the same value it had in the classic real estate quote “location, location, location”? Can centrality rest on delocalisation? Is connectivity the new main value?
The unstoppable growth of cities has made them key drivers of the global economy. Urban centres account for 80% of global GDP, 70% of the energy used and 70% of total CO2. States compete with their cities to attract more investment and talent. A global competition that requires a discourse built around the unique opportunities the city provides and what makes it different from others. There is further a need to develop indicators that measure these values.
This year, for instance, the prestigious Emerging Trends, Climate of Change report, published each year by ULI and PWC, has produced a relevant fact. This report is based on broad consultation with experts worldwide who evaluate, among other things, investment intentions and variables that influence decision-making. Madrid ranked fifth out of 31 cities this year. The evaluation included indicators such as connectivity, transport infrastructure, profitability, asset availability-based investment and city’s leadership. What it found was that connectivity is the most significant variable for making investment decisions, over and above profitability. Something is changing, and these trends prove it.
In this immediacy world, locations that help to achieve the goals quicker are increasingly more relevant, whether receiving a parcel or commuting to work.
Terms such as “last mile” and “I want it, I got it” are now being used. Logistics companies strive to deliver parcels in less than 2 hours, and businesses look for well-connected locations that would shorten the commute time for their employees. Transport nodes have become new drivers for growth because they attract more businesses and talent.
The need for immediacy also influences the layout and design of cities, because society increasingly values and demands compact, mixed-use urban environments, shorter distances, easy access to services, etc. Cities begin to identify with a scale in which pedestrians are viewed as highly valuable. A walkable city not only economically strengthens and stimulates urban centres but also brings significant benefits to society. The walkability concept, the search for walkable environments, is on the rise. Citizens want to live their cities on foot or bicycle and want to have public transport hubs that allow them to travel far in a short time. The use of private vehicles is being relegated to a lower priority. This also fosters sustainable and efficient mobility. Indicators are confirming that things are not going so badly, given that trends and sustainability go hand in hand in this case.
In keeping with these trends, Madrid Nuevo Norte’s new business centre will be an exceptional hyperconnectivity locus. It will be located next to Chamartín Station, which will shortly become the main hub for the Spanish High-Speed Train system, only 15 minutes away from Madrid’s airport. Nearly five million people will be able to access the new business district in less than one hour by public transport. It will also be connected by bus, subway and train. Indeed, 95% of Madrid Nuevo Norte’s land lots will be located within a 10-minute walk from the high-capacity public transport node.
Madrid Nuevo Norte’s mobility model will completely reverse the way we have been getting around our city since the past century. Indeed, 80% of the trips will be made in sustainable means of transport, and only 20% will be in private vehicles, putting Madrid at the cutting edge of European sustainable mobility.
This project offers our city a unique opportunity to link Europe and Latin America. A partner for fostering more sustainable and efficient mobility across the region. That Madrid is a pioneer in innovative economic development will facilitate the process, while encouraging more responsible engagement with the urban environment, scalable to other large Spanish cities. A model that delivers a more sustainable and decarbonised urban lifestyle.