Spain: The urban orchards of the future

“Madrid, Isla de Color" Strategy seeks the revolutionary transformation of Madrid’s public space. Implemented by the city council and with a budget of €21.6 million, it intends to regenerate some 678 hectares and benefit 1.2 million inhabitants. 

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According to city sources, Madrid, Isla de Color, is a series of initiatives aimed at transforming the public space of the city of Madrid: eliminating "concrete deserts", "degraded lots" or "abandoned spaces between blocks of buildings". Within this strategy, the council's big bet is the implementation of the Metropolitan Forest, the 75-kilometer green infrastructure that will surround the entire city and is expected to be a reality in twelve years.

Madrid, Isla de Color also includes ambitious urban transformation projects such as Barrios Productores (Producing Neighbourhoods), valued at some €15 million. This project aims to generate spaces for local production and economic development "that can be used to generate employment, economic activity or recreational use for residents through healthy leisure".

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Barrios Productores

Barrios Productores will be implemented through urban production cells, which constitute the project's unit. Each urban production cell can develop different actions: agri-food production and innovation; flower production; environmental learning spaces linked to healthy leisure; activities for the elderly; training for children; agricultural research and development, etc.

Each of these urban production cells will also serve as an incubator for entrepreneurs to develop new local economic models, such as the New York company Gotham Growers, based on agri-food innovation. Its main objective, according to the city council, is to promote the green economy of the neighborhoods, "revegetating" their open spaces and underutilized roofs. An initiative that, they consider, "favors innovation and entrepreneurship through activities related to agriculture, fruit and vegetable production, marketing of organic products and hospitality". It should be borne in mind that in the city of Madrid there are some 678 hectares of empty spaces.

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With a total budget of €26.1 million, it is estimated that, in principle, 1.2 million inhabitants in Madrid suburbs will be benefited. In essence, the city council considers Barrios productores to be "an important opportunity for Madrid, as it combines two of its main urban challenges: mitigation and adaptation to climate change and the regeneration of the most vulnerable neighborhoods".

Source: La Razón