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Madrid wants to start the new year with a drastic makeover

Madrid wants to start the new year with a drastic makeover

What better Christmas present to its residents and guests than this?

The Spanish capital of Madrid wants to be first intelligent and sustainable European capital and its government is putting words to action wasting no time. On 21 December, it was announced on the municipal website that works for the conversion of some 10 kilometres of streets into pedestrian alleys will begin this month, although no specific date has been announced for the start of the works.

The large-scale plan will affect 21 districts all over the city and will result in the reduction of car traffic, emissions and noise and the provision of cleaner, wider and healthier spaces for the inhabitants, regardless of which part of Madrid they reside in.

Madrid made a pledge during the COP25 Climate Summit to continuously add zero-emission zones until 2030

Pedestrianization, of course, is nothing new to the Spanish capital. Just earlier this year, for example, the famed Plaza del Sol (the navel of the city and its most emblematic square) was remodeled in a way that completely bans the access of motorized vehicles to it.

Furthermore, more than a year ago the administration adopted the so-called Madrid 360 Environmental Sustainability Strategy to help along the transition to a cleaner future. It serves as the road map for future decision making in that area.

And to put things into perspective, it will be good to think of the new development as interconnected zero-emissions islands that will diversify the look and the feel of Madrid. The overall area slated for pedestrianization is equal to 18 squares the size of Plaza del Sol, or 203 440 m2.

In terms of traffic, this will also mean the removal of some 40 000 vehicles that pass along and across these areas every day.

There are certain conditions, however, that have been pre-agreed as essential towards sustainable redevelopment, and these have been grouped into four criteria. For one, pedestrianization should not be done at the expense of local commerce. It should also result in the expansion of green spaces and safe access to schools for children. The final condition is that the historic quarters of each district should also be easily accessible.

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