Madrid urban panorama: big projects for an expansive era

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Caused by the economic expansion that put Spain among the European leading countries, Madrid could overcome its historic deficiencies, and was able to renew its potentiality during the last decade until the economic crash by turning itself into an economic and cultural capital of international stature. While urban development has been appropriating peripheral territories, defining a new structural organisation, the city took advantage of economic buoyancy to improve its infrastructure. Flagship projects were the treatment of the M-30 highway to recover the banks of the Manzanares River as civil space, and new urban services, such as the Terminal 4 of Barajas airport. Besides, big companies built new headquarters, economic fortresses in the form of autonomous cities on the urban fringe, or spectacular skyscrapers along the Castellana axis in the centre of Madrid. The current economic crisis in Spain is an opportunity to analyse all those projects and try to understand the present situation to rethink new ways of improving the urban panorama of Madrid. In 2007, the structure of the city broke up to be reconfigured through multiple interventions. The growth of the Spanish economy surpassed that of Germany fourfold according an article published in the Financial Times. A study of rating agencies placed Madrid among the five first economic countries of the world according to a criterion that considers political, social and demographic factors, including development potential. The nine Spanish companies placed among the world’s 500 largest have their headquarters in Madrid, putting it into the sixth position in one of the rankings of global cities.
Strategies For the Post-Speculative City : Proceedings of the 4th AESOP European Urban Summer School, Madrid, Spain, September 2013
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