23 March 2021

Madrid launches its Urban Forest: a 75 km green ring


The Spanish capital announces the five winning projects for the Metropolitan Forest initiative. The recovery plans aim to restore the land while protecting climate and biodiversity

by Matteo Cavallito


Madrid is ready to create its Bosque Metropolitano (Urban Forest), a 75-kilometer green ring designed to restore the soil and its ecosystems. Over the past few days, in fact, the local government of the Spanish capital has announced the details of the five winning projects of the competition held as part of the Healthy Cities Project sponsored by the World Health Organization. First announced last July, the plan, which will require 12 years of work with a total cost of 77 million euros, evokes other urban space recovery programs still being carried out in the world. In the first year of its implementation, the promoters explained, operations will involve a total area of 70 hectares located in six districts.

Less CO2 and more recovered land through the Forest

The Urban Forest, according to Madrid’s authorities, “will contribute to the rebalancing of the city, the reduction of CO2 emissions, the fight against climate change, the ecological and landscape recovery of degraded areas and the increased supply of pedestrian and bicycle paths. In addition it will provide benefits to people’ s health”. These goals are also pursued by a project designed to connect the hills of El Pardo, Valdelatas and Casa de Campo launched by studio Pino Forestal, managed by engineer Pino Pliego Alegría. The plan, the newspaper El País says, aims to create a pedestrian and bicycle route in the capital. The initiative also includes the creation of an ornithological center in the Valverde neighborhood.

Urban parks and the scent of nature

Among other projects, the initiative signed by architect Luis Climent Rosillo aims to connect the urban parks of the northeast area, including the south border of Encinar de los Reyes, Juan Carlos I Park, Capricho Garden, Cuña de O’Donnell and La Elipa Park. The plan is designed to connect and isolate these green spaces from the traffic noise with natural barriers. The route, which will cover 24 kilometers, will be reserved for pedestrians and cyclists. As well as to drivers of convertible electric vehicles “for people with reduced mobility”.

The initiatives of the Urban Forest also include the attractive project of Southeast Green Ring, in the valleys of Jarama and Manzanares. Arquitects, in particular, aim to connect a network of rural roads and forest trails and livestock paths with the Southeast Regional Park. The program compiled by landscape architect David Gistau Cosculluela also includes the implant of trees near the Valdemingómez waste management plant with the aim of mitigating unpleasant smells.

Rivers, bicycles and an Environmental Restoration Center

The list of development plans also includes the proposal of the Aldayjover study. The operation aims to integrate the Manzanares Basin with the La Gavia Creek and the capital’s suburbs. According to the plans of designer Iñaki Alday, this would mean restoring a land occupied by landfills and also creating a pedestrian and bicycle path in the area’s two river parks.

Finally, the Urban Ring, a project of Rubio Arquitectura studio, signed by designer Carlos Rubio Carvajal. The concept is to “extend the existing bike ring to the capital area from the Manzanares River with the Guadarrama River” El País says. The initiative’s objectives include the installation of a forest nursery and an agro-ecological park. In addition to the creation of the Madrid Environmental Restoration Center, “an institution in charge of monitoring the management of the entire urban forest.”