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One hundred seventy thousand (170,000) residents embrace DCN’s Social Engagement model for Madrid Nuevo Norte

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The company presents its first Social Engagement Report

One hundred seventy thousand (170,000) residents embrace DCN’s Social Engagement model for Madrid Nuevo Norte

 

Gema del Pozo y Jose Luis Rodriguez

 

In less than three years, the Social Engagement Area of Distrito Castellana Norte (DCN) has indirectly reached out to 667,820 people.  

Almost 100 groups have been directly involved in the development of Madrid Nuevo Norte.

DCN is the first Spanish real estate developer with a Social Engagement Area. 

 

Madrid, 12 March 2019 Distrito Castellana Norte (DCN) presented today its first Social Engagement Report, setting out the results of the first three years of activity in this area. This Area was created in 2016 to engage directly with citizens, and listen to their needs and expectations regarding the Madrid Nuevo Norte project. “We are aware that a project of this magnitude may have a decisive impact on many people’s lives. Hence, citizens have a prominent role in our urban planning model”, explains Gema del Pozo, DCN’s Social Engagement Manager.

The company, which owns the land rights to Adif’s lands in Madrid Nuevo Norte, is the first real estate developer in Spain with a Social Engagement Area. This Area was set up because DCN believes that urban development is a collaborative process of dialogue in which citizens must not be kept in the dark. Madrid Nuevo Norte will be developed in an area surrounded by pre-existing neighbourhoods. It is therefore essential to engage all citizens in the project; in particular, the residents.

The Social Engagement Area forms the strategic core of DCN. Indeed, it is the differentiator that increases its competitiveness by engaging citizens.

Our Social Engagement pursues two main objectives: ensure adequate integration of the neighbourhoods adjacent to Madrid Nuevo Norte and create added social value for these neighbourhoods and Madrid.

The strategy to achieve these objectives builds on the fact that Spanish citizens’ participation in matters relating to the city is still in its infancy. Therefore, efforts must be made to reach out to the citizens and foster closer ties to boost participation. “We have made a huge effort to reach out to the residents in places where they naturally gather, to spark their interest in the project and make them aware of how this will improve their lives,” explains Del Pozo.

 

Social Innovation and Community Revitalisation

DCN’s Social Engagement strategy is based on two essential thrusts: social innovation and community revitalisation.

Social Innovation encompasses several new processes, practices and methods to carry out initiatives in which residents and local groups participate. It seeks to encourage residents to become the protagonists in these neighbourhood initiatives, leading to a sense of ownership that would push them to act as agents of change. It is against this backdrop that different projects are being implemented, including Urban-Rural Balance, which seeks to foster socio-economic links between the rural environment of the north of the capital and Madrid Nuevo Norte, and Vecinas Project which, through different actions, helps mainstream gender into Madrid Nuevo Norte, the first urban development project in Spain that requires a gender report even in the planning phase.

The ongoing dialogue with neighbours has provided insights into the needs of the women living in the neighbourhoods adjacent to the project, in the hope that Madrid Nuevo Norte will contribute finding solutions and creating an inclusive city. Community Revitalisation encompasses initiatives aimed at engaging citizens in the design and creation of their environment. This requires effective channels to allow two-way communication and dialogue with residents. One such channel are DCN’s citizen information offices, one in Fuencarral, opened in May 2016, and another in Las Tablas in December of that same year. Over 3,000 citizens have visited these offices to receive information and provide feedback that can enrich the project. Both offices have established bonds with their respective neighbourhoods: “Our goal was to blend in with the neighbours, and I would say that we have achieved it,” says Gema Del Pozo.

In addition to this physical presence in the neighbourhoods, Social Engagement has a digital platform, VecinosMadridNorte.com, which enables participation beyond geographical proximity. The platform has different features, including sending  suggestions, participating in debates or surveys, learning about or registering in activities. This allows us to be part of a community that actively engages with its surroundings.

DCN also relies on Neighbourhood Committees to dialogue with the neighbours. DCN’s technical experts use the three Committees (Fuencarral, Chamartín and Las Tablas) to inform the neighbours about project progress and listen to their suggestions and requests. The Committees also organise information days about different issues related to Madrid Nuevo Norte. This activity offers a space for reflection with neighbours.

Leisure and sports activities are organised in parallel as part of the Madrid Nuevo Norte Active District project, which seeks to transform the future neighbourhoods into spaces that encourage physical activities. Several educational projects in neighbouring schools seek to encourage dialogue with youth.

 

Measurable achievements

In less than three years, Social Engagement has carried out 480 activities in different areas within Madrid and has organised 1,170 meetings with groups, associations and universities. This Area actively collaborates with over 80 groups and associations of various types that promote joint projects that focus on improving the city. These activities have reached 166,955 people directly, which mean that it has had an indirect impact on 667,820 people.

Consistent hard work with the residents in the neighbourhoods, and with the general public, has sparked unprecedented support and mobilisation of the people interested in Madrid Nuevo Norte. The project has unprecedented citizen support. According to a survey conducted between November and December 2017 by the independent firm MyWord, 80.8% of the citizens of Madrid and 91.7% of residents in adjoining areas support the project.

Additionally, community initiatives that show their tangible commitment to Madrid Nuevo Norte have multiplied over the last two years. The neighbours have rallied behind the real need for a project that they believe is rightfully theirs, and for which they are ready to take to the streets and make their voice heard.

12 March 2019

Author

Distrito Castellana Norte


for Distrito Castellana Norte