Madrid Nuevo Norte, the first city with a gender perspective
Design cities that do not limit the right of their inhabitants to participate fully and freely , on equal terms and independently of their gender. This is the principle that, for the first time in Spain, will be applied to a great urban development: Madrid Nuevo Norte , a project of the City Council of the capital with the support of the Ministry of Public Works and the Castellana Norte District .
The initial step to build based on this concept of space is a complete report, prepared by the Unesco Chair of Gender of the School of Architecture dependent on the Polytechnic University of Madrid. Its director, Inés Sánchez de Madariaga, is a recognized expert in the world on gender issues applied to urban planning. She herself points out that although the study “responds to a legal requirement”, this time it has gone a step further: “this gender impact assessment has been strategically incorporated in Madrid Nuevo Norte as a vital tool to achieve the sustainable urban development, “he explains. Complementarily, citizen needs have been determined thanks to exploratory marches and work groups with inhabitants of adjacent areas, such as Fuencarral and Las Tablas, headed by professionals such as Gema del Pozo , director of the Social Commitment Area of the Castellana Norte District.
Identifying the factors necessary to enhance gender equality in cities requires observing statistics on the use of time. Sánchez de Madariaga cites, among others, Eurostat studies that show that the tasks of caring for children, seniors and dependents fall mainly on women. At an urban level, this implies an intensive use of public space, although historically it has not been reflected in the cities: “Normative experience sees residential spaces as resting areas,” explains the architect.
And that is precisely the rule that breaks the order of Madrid Nuevo Norte. This urban design takes into account factors such as the proximity of public transport to housing , the sense of security or the facilities on foot. In other words: the range of uses of the city is expanded to favor integration.
The urban model proposed by Madrid Nuevo Norte is summarized in a compact city, with short distances, numerous pedestrian routes and access to public transport quickly, directly and safely. This security is also transferred to streets and avenues, with a minimum lighting ratio that increases the feeling of tranquility. It also combines uses at all scales and is equipped with a system of proximity equipment aimed at the care of children and adults.
The action with a gender perspective of Madrid Nuevo Norte is not limited to public space. In parallel, it will reserve 20%-twice the amount established by law-of protected housing , a “very good” factor in that sense, according to Sánchez de Madariaga, since it helps to integrate groups of women who, due to circumstances concrete, have a lower purchasing power.
The influence of the new proximity services will not only serve the new buildings; many will be located strategically at the edges of the area to also favor the adjoining neighborhoods.