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Madrid Río – a project that changed Madrid

The Madrid Río project originated when the section of the M-30 ring road running parallel to the Manzanares River in Madrid was moved underground.

From 2004 to 2011, an ambitious planning effort has resulted in a stretch of urban parkland more than 10 kilometers long on top of the former ring road. Today, the green river bank of Manzanares has become an integral part of the city centre, offering Madrilenians unique recreational facilities and a higher quality of life.

The Manzanares transformation
Madrid Río is the name of the redeveloped area of Madrid’s Manzanares River. It covers 649 hectares of parkland divided into six districts with numerous environmental, sporting, leisure and cultural facilities. Here you can bike along the green Madrid Río cycle network, walk or run across the 17 new footbridges, lie in the shade of over 25,000 newly planted trees, exercise in skate parks, basketball courts or BMX tracks or take your children to one of the new 17 playgrounds.

The pillars of Madrid Río
Madrid Río is based upon five pillars: The recuperation of the river, the Salón de Pinos (a Pine Hall featuring 8,000 pine trees), the expansion and creation of green and blue areas, a zone for sports and leisure and the urban development of the area. The scale is so enormous that it is difficult to think of another city that has implemented such an urban regeneration operation which has totally transformed the life quality of local residents and become a first class tourism attraction.

Argenzula Park
In one of the most popular districts of Madrid Río, the Arganzuela Park, the main attraction is water thanks to a city beach proposed by children taking part in the Madrid Río Children and Young People contest held in 2005. The beach area comprises three oval-shaped waterside enclosures with different uses. One has a shallow pool of water where people can lie and cool off, another features jets of water rising to different heights with differing effects, and the third has a pool with clouds of spray. Around the three water zones, there are lawns for people to sunbathe with sun loungers and chairs for the comfort of visitors.

IFHP study tour to Madrid
The Madrid Río project was one of the highlights on the IFHP study tour to Madrid taking place on 2-4 September 2013. On a two-hour bike tour through the green corridors of Madrid, we experienced how the project had changed Madrid to a more balanced and sustainable city. Besides the Madrid Río project, the IFHP study tour took us to experience the revitalization of the city centre of Madrid, the extension of the Castellana Axes, urban renewal in the low-income area of Lavapiés and much more.

Read more about the study tour programme.

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