- A Mega-Blue-Green Network: Madrid River Project   click here to open paper content1125 kb
by    Franchini, Teresa & Arana, Juan | tfranchini.eps@ceu.es   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Madrid river project, a huge blue-green network operation that extends over 121 ha, has won back the margins of Manzanares River for the city. The project brings out strongly polemical issues concerning its environmental, social and financial impact.
After eight years of work, the last April 15 the city of Madrid officially opened the so-called Madrid River project, the major urban operation conducted in the city to recover the urban stretch of the River Manzanares, a narrow stream that crosses the city from northeast to southwest. The river had been cancelled for urban uses in the seventies, with the construction of a highway that ran on both margins with the aim of favouring the movement around the city. This project not only produced a strong barrier between seven urban districts, but removed from the collective image one of the symbolic elements of the Madrilenian urban landscape.

The main objective of the Madrid River project was to recover almost 8 km of the river by building the highway underground. Driven directly by the Mayor and after an international competition of ideas, the final project recovers a stretch of 1,210,881 m2 for parks, recreational areas, and sports facilities. At a cost of 400 million Euros, twice the initial budget, the project includes architectural and urban renewal of the surrounding urban areas, and the construction of new bridges and walkways to facilitate the relationship between the neighbourhoods adjacent to the river. Moreover, the project is configured as a large wildlife corridor for which more than 33,000 trees have been planted.

The aim of this paper is to analyze both the characteristics of the project, one of the largest green and blue network built in Europe the last decade, as well as the reactions its construction has generated: political, due to the excessive indebtedness for the city; social, related to the impact of the works on the citizens daily lives, and judicial, regarding the complaints including those from the European Union - about the non-resolved environmental impacts of this public work.
blue-green network, waterways, green infraestructure, artificial landscape,
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