Madrid’s Metropolitan Forest, the flagship project of its Urban Development Area will be a 75 km long peripheral green belt, involving more than 2,300 hectares (ha) of new urban forests, connections to existing green areas and the planting of more than 2 million new trees, all indigenous.
The origin of the Metropolitan Forest
In Madrid there was no industrialization as we know it from other cities and therefore there is no industrial belt to be reconverted. However, there is a lot of peripheral land, areas remaining between infrastructures and other constructions, or plots of land whose historical agricultural or mining uses have ceased a long time ago. They are wastelands that do not seem to have any assigned use, neglected, deteriorated, and abandoned.
The Metropolitan Forest project consists of recovering these plots of land and remaining surfaces as green areas, to reforest them, and join them with the existing green areas in a Metropolitan Forest around the municipality of Madrid whose social, ecological, but also functional and economic benefits are incalculable.
The Metropolitan Forest as a recreational area for the suburbs
Madrid’s new green ring will be a proximity recreational area with children’s playgrounds, pedestrian, and cycle paths, for all the residents of the suburbs. In addition, the new green areas will serve to introduce new sports and cultural infrastructures, balancing the offer of sport and leisure in all the peri-urban areas.
The Metropolitan Forest as an urban and inter-urban connection
Another of the great advantages of this project is the connection of the suburbs with each other and with the city, creating a 75 km long pedestrian and cycle path around the entire municipality of Madrid. But this is not the only advantage: the green belt also creates a landscape and functional link between the city and the neighboring municipalities, facilitating access to the city center by bicycle.
The Metropolitan Forest as a social connection
If many political initiative projects are focused on the short or medium term depending on electoral cycles, the Metropolitan Forest of Madrid is an unprecedented 30-year strategic plan and has become a cross-cutting commitment; it brings together political and social forces, involves professional urban planners, landscape architects, architects and ecologists, and has the collaboration of universities, non-profit organizations and many major companies as sponsors: The Metropolitan Forest inspires and excites a whole generation!
The Metropolitan Forest as a response to climate change
And of course, another very important objective of this project is its environmental impact. The increase in the number of trees in the new green ring makes Madrid more resilient to the effects of climate change: the improvement of air quality, the mitigation of the urban heat island or the enrichment of biodiversity, to list some of the advantages, will have a decisive influence on an increase in the quality of life of the people of Madrid.
Do you want to know more about the Metropolitan Forest?
Madrides invites you to get to know the strategy of the Metropolitan Forest and the 5 winning projects of the international competitions in depth and organizes visits to the already implemented parts. We also offer guided tours to other big urban projects in Madrid: Get to know by bike the fantastic green infrastructure Madrid Río, or the urban plan and the residential buildings of the Eco neighborhoods Puente de Vallecas, or the other big urban plan, Madrid Nuevo Norte.
Author: Werner Durrer, Architect and owner of MADRIDES, GA Madrid