Breathing life into forgotten urban areas is crucial for the success of cities throughout the world. But how do you create a compelling vision that will act as a catalyst to unlock the transformation of an underdeveloped area, and that can capture the imagination of a constellation of stakeholders - including residents, official bodies and local authorities as well as investors?
Madrid Nuevo Norte looks to reinvent the city’s northern rail station and district in one of the largest-scale urban renewal and placemaking initiatives in Europe to date – with a total site of 300 hectares. Long seen as a gaping wound in the fabric of the city, the ambitious project seeks to heal the dead space created by the existing railway tracks leading to Chamartín station, and recast the neighbourhood as a thriving sustainable residential and business area supported by an integrated public transport hub. The Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is designed to respond to radical changes in mobility behaviour, with Chamartín train station becoming an integrated commuter hub, seamlessly integrated with the existing network, and the launchpad of high speed rail for the north of Spain.
Delivering a flourishing, truly lived-in public space is a key part of the vision, with active transport and leisure areas including walking and cycling paths and a succession of parks and play spaces woven into its fabric. Residential buildings, office towers and retail and leisure space all pivot on a central green axis laced with parkland, playgrounds and greenscapes connecting the former hunting grounds of El Pardo to the north of the city with downtown’s El Retiro park.
2.7million mixed use area
Stakeholder engagement and alignment: key to unlocking value for the community
Creating an all-encompassing vision that brings together local and regional authorities, the ministry of public works, the national railway body and private investors and developers alongside residents has been the key to unlocking this project.
The visionary urban regeneration initiative will improve the quality of life for the local community, delivering a hyper-connected district with a vibrant mixed-use retail offering and business area. As strategic advisor to the client, Arup has provided a range of services including master planning, infrastructure design, transport planning as well as site-wide sustainability consulting, including guidance on energy microgrids, water and waste management and infrastructure, air quality and microclimate.
Transport hub: the lifeblood of Madrid Nuevo Norte
The project focuses in the connection of existing districts, thanks to the redevelopment of the brownfield site around Chamartín station alongside upgrades to railway and road infrastructure that will consolidate the district as a transport hub, the core of high-speed rail.
The site is criss-crossed by a series of key traffic thoroughfares including the M30 ring road, which will be brought within the fabric of the site, with a series of new bridges linking the previously disconnected eastern and western edges of the district. Heavy car usage will be left behind in this new model of the city, which is articulated around a transport mobility strategy. Its strategic location – just 15 minutes away from the airport - means the area already plays host to a range of blue-chip corporates in the Cuatro Torres Business Area. The business hub is expected to continue to grow towards Chamartín station, helping the city attract and retain world-leading talent that will strengthen its knowledge-based economy.
Sustainability: delivering quality of life for Madrid residents
The success of this mixed-use urban renewal project is based on sustainability, a central tenet that underpins and gives meaning to the entire development. Our experts created a sustainability framework to guide every single design decision for this transformational city renewal project. The entire site is connected by a green corridor totalling about 450,000 m², and spanning parkland, playgrounds and greenscapes that link this neglected area to the rest of the city. Working under a resilience approach, Arup engineers and consultants have sought to restore the area´s natural hydrologic processes, including natural draining and stormwater management to create a more sustainable area that can encourage biodiversity.
Arup has helped the key players come together around a unique vision to re-invent this area as a sustainable transport hub – the core of high speed rail for northern Spain – a thriving residential and businesses destination with a green heart. ” Flavio Tejada European Cities Task Force Chair