In recent years, the term “sustainable” has been incorporated into all areas of our vocabulary and our lives. This phenomenon, which is positive insofar as it reflects a high degree of awareness of our society in regard to environmental issues and the scarcity of our planet’s resources, also poses some challenges. These include an in-depth understanding of what it means to be sustainable. I am referring to understanding sustainability as a transversal and strategic objective, and merely a label.
Reaching this level of knowledge requires a combination of vision, desire and resources. This applies to all sectors of activity but is especially applicable in urban planning. Few today doubt the transcendental role that our cities will play in the coming decades in the face of enormous challenges such as climate change, or the technological, economic and social transformations that are still to come.
In this sense, Madrid Nuevo Norte, the major transformation that Madrid will undergo in the coming years, is presented as the great opportunity for our capital to be among the group of cities that will lead the response to these great challenges. This is the vision of at least those of us who are promoting this project, both from private companies and public administrations.
Because of its size (more than 2.5 million square metres of land), its privileged location (Chamartín Station and the airport less than 15 minutes make it a unique communications hub in Europe) and because it is an action that is starting from a blank canvas, this project is therefore a unique opportunity to introduce large-scale ground-breaking measures in the field of urban sustainability. It is an opportunity that cannot be passed up.
This is the view of the City Council and the Community of Madrid, with whom we are working closely, and this is also the view of international organisations such as UN-Habitat, with whom we have shared several initiatives aimed at creating cities in which people are the true centre of gravity, or the EU itself, which, through different programmes, has selected Madrid Nuevo Norte as a pilot project in which to apply the most advanced measures aimed at decarbonising our cities, promoting the creation of an ecosystem of innovation and talent around the action.
Madrid Nuevo Norte was born with the desire to serve as an international benchmark for urban sustainability and, since then, we have not stopped pursuing that goal. Sustainability has been the origin and the main focus of the design of this project. It is inherent to it, forms part of its DNA and lays out a new way of doing urban planning.
Because we understand that only in this way can we create a city that generates well-being for all those who live in and visit it, regardless of their gender, age or condition. A city that runs on clean energy, that it is environmentally responsible and that presents itself as an ally rather than an enemy of the natural ecosystems that surround it. In short, a city that offers opportunities to all of its citizens.
It is certainly an ambitious vision, and one that we could never have pursued alone. Fortunately, the public administrations have shared this vision from the very start, integrating it into the planning, through the specific modification of the General Plan, in what represents a true milestone in our urban planning, with the incorporation of sustainability measures that go far beyond strict compliance with the existing legal framework.
Now that the planning phase has been completed and we are already immersed in the execution phase of Madrid Nuevo Norte, we have worked to prepare what we are calling Sustainability Master Frameworks in which, as a roadmap, we bring this vision of sustainability to future urban development projects, providing the tools that will enable us to create this city that we are dreaming of. These frameworks address key issues such as connecting the city with nature, clean energy, circular waste management, the integrated water cycle, smart mobility, efficient goods distribution, technology and universal accessibility.
It is a comprehensive strategy for large-scale urban sustainability that is absolutely ground-breaking in the urban planning of our country and that we will present this week in detail within the framework of the National Environmental Congress (CONAMA).
These are the pillars that support the 21st century city that we want to create. A city that will be a reflection of the best that we can become and that we can all be proud of.