It does some days (on 25 February past) has been approved by the Plenary of the City council of Madrid the mega-operation Chamartín after almost 20 years of announcements and negotiations. Although there are a lot of youngsters that still do not know it… This operation (or plan urbanístico) uses part of the soil of the roads of RENFE as well as other terrains (some expropiados in his day to the jesuitas) to give a growth to the city of 2,8 Km, prolongando the current axis of the Castellana until the knot North and linking it with the M40, touching tangencialmente PAU of the Tables (that it has an absurd planning, by the way), of Saint Chinarro and of the future City of the Justice.
The plan has been designed by JM Ezquiaga together with Iñaki Ábalos, architects of recognised path and cost and that, surely, have realised the best of the possible plans for the difficult commission received. Something that do not put in doubt (neither that it is difficult the commission neither that the architects are big professionals), neither neither that have improved substantially the Pharaonic design realised in his day by Ricardo Bofill.
This operation has sold us now as an approximation of the capital to other big cities as Paris or London, as a great strategy of generation of working places and as the motive economic future of Madrid. One speaks about 20.000 employments created in the next years and, before it, the citizens have been kept silent. The rest of the silence obeys surely interests of another nature.
What the numbers say is the following thing: 17.000 housings (4.000 of them, protected), a great center of offices and business, four enormous skyscrapers (others or will they be them of always?), twenty towers and 3,1 million square meters of constructed soil, I occur for parks and gardens-53 It has-, public equipments-81 It Has-, 123 It Has for infrastructures of communication (streets, avenues and other means of transport). An investment of 11.000 million Euros on the part of M. of Promotion, the Community of Madrid and the Town hall, investment that will be extracted apparently from the appreciations generated with the urban development exploitation of the zone. In 15 years 15.000 persons are foreseen there living.
It has been designed by the major one of the elegant environmental ones and following the current directives of the modern urbanism, on having assembled residential zones, of work and of leisure, with rails bicycles, with rings traffics perimetrales to the housings, with a magnificent net of public transport, with ecological housings, etc. I dress like that, they give desire of going out running, to associate with the consortium BBVA and construction San Jose and to begin eufóricamente to construct. But there is something of the whole operation that produces dizziness to me, I sit it. And not only for the numbers that – I admit – overcome me.
Because, I say, with the major one of the respects:
– Are not we speaking now in full crisis that it is necessary to restate the brick as economic engine of the country and change strategy?
– Does Madrid need such an enormous development, such a beastly growth, when the park of empty housings in the whole country is 3 millions (and they are still terribly expensive) and the theory of the Decrease (spread by the teacher Carlos Taibo and Serge Latouche) is penetrating depth in the soul of the citizens who see that to grow and to grow and to grow is not the solution to our problems?
– Had not we stayed that IT is necessary TO RE-USE and TO REHABILITATE the old, humblest, most necessary housings of the center and of the peripheral neighborhoods? Was not that one the slogan?
– Do not we continue with this operation fomenting an inequality between the North and the South of the city, already existing but not desirable inequality?
– In spite of the magnificent facilities of transport, and knowing the reality, will not there take place a car collapse of entry to the city from the highway of Apiary, M30 and M40, to accede to all these tertiary services?
– Why so many housings of luxury?
– And the citizenship? In a moment that one is speaking about the importance of the civil participation of residents associations, about women, about inhabitants of the neighborhoods, how and of what way has Town hall allowed that they take part in the Operation? By means of the in force formulae and sleepless nights? (Public information be read in Official Bulletins, allegations, etc.) has real public debate existed, in all these years?
– And last but not least, do we want the persons from Madrid a city inside the city? A city where them of always they are going to speculate on areas that are not his, taking 3.000 million Euros to him in appreciations as IU has denounced?
Cristina García-Rosales. architect
madrid. march 2011