A green ring around Madrid? It's now or never.

The Metropolitan Forest - A #GenerationRestoration, Madrid City and UNEP story.

By The United Nations

View of Madrid (1565) by Anton van den WyngaerdeThe United Nations

Have you ever been to Madrid?

Have you ever wondered what the city looked like centuries ago?  Its landscape was crisscrossed by streams and paths that connected mills, hermitages, and towns that were eventually absorbed by the great metropolis.  

Los Berrocales in 2008 (2008)The United Nations

Years of environmental degradation

Waste treatment plants, electric substations, landfills, and transport infrastructure completely transformed the territory. Cultivated fields were abandoned in expectation of more lucrative urban uses.

Aerial view of M-30 road in Madrid (2021)The United Nations

Time for regeneration

The Madrid Metropolitan Forest project aims to make history by growing a green ring around the Spanish capital. 

Madrid Metropolitan Forest project team (2021)The United Nations

UNEP visited the project with a very special guide

Silvia Villacañas is the Director of Strategic Planning at the Urban Planning Department of the Madrid City Council. She leads the team that is implementing an urban sustainability dream for Madrid's citizens.

Metropolitan Forest Project map (2021)The United Nations

Five areas of intervention to complete the ring

"The metropolitan forest project will generate a 75 km green belt with 35,000 hectares of forest. 80% already exists, but we are going to intervene in 4,000 hectares over the next 10 years."

Tree planting at Campo de las Naciones in Madrid (2021)The United Nations

More plants for Madrid

"This will add one million more trees and ten million more shrubs than Madrid currently has."

Restoration at Campo de las Naciones in Madrid (2021)The United Nations

One ring, many benefits

"We are planting more trees, improving the urban climate and reducing pollution. We are creating new spaces for the city, new routes and paths on which to walk from one park to another, or from one neighborhood to another."

Manzanares River park in Madrid (2021)The United Nations

A healthy avenue

"We want to create a forest avenue and to have bike tours. We will equip it with social facilities and sports areas in order to bring nature closer to the city of Madrid."

Manzanares River in Madrid (2021)The United Nations

The regeneration of the Manzanares River

"The city was growing with its back to the river. In 2004, the M-30 road was buried, and they began to make parks and recover the margins of the river. There was a project to recover the ecological flow, and birds, amphibians and fish have appeared."

Planting on hill at Campo de las Naciones in Madrid (2021)The United Nations

A common interest

"For us, this decade is going to be crucial in order to develop this great green infrastructure for Madrid. It is an opportunity that we cannot miss, because the interests of politicians, scientists, technicians and citizens converge."

Silvia Villacañas visiting project site at El Pardo in Madrid (2021)The United Nations

It's now or never

"This is our last chance. If we don't seize this moment, we will have lost it and Madrid will be left without a green ring," warns Silvia Villacañas.

Drone shot of park near Torrespaña (2021)The United Nations

From Madrid to the sky

"In 30 years, we think we will be able to absorb 500,000 t of CO2 per year," estimates Silvia Villacañas. There's a traditional saying in the city: From Madrid to heaven/the sky. It will be a cleaner sky thanks to the Metropolitan Forest.

Redesign - Urban forests in MadridThe United Nations

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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