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The city that comes

Madrid, España.
Madrid, España.

The time has come to think about urban planning in different terms from how it had been proposed until now, supported by a normative planning that reality has been in charge of demonstrating that it needs to be more flexible and strategic. And there we find ourselves, once again, with the choice of the short and the long term. The urbanism that has come to be called "tactical" or rather we would say practical, the short-term one that meets the needs of day-to-day life or the one with the longest or most strategic path for which we have to prepare. The emergency leads to tactical urbanism and preserving our future to strategic planning.

We have seen how small-scale interventions are possible in short times. They have shown great effectiveness with high levels of acceptance and are, or can be, trial and error for the long term and, in any case, demonstrative that the way we understand and design the city must be changed. The occupation of public space, delimited by tapes, paint or bollards; immediate spaces such as parking spaces converted into living areas, terraces or games for children, appears in front of the long-range mobility plan, which addresses accessibility from a pedestrian and soft modalities approach, prioritizing proximity, considering the selection of those essential routes of road traffic for the operation of the city.

There will be aspects on which it will be necessary to work in an integrated way for greater efficiency and quality of life: public space, housing, productive activities, industry, commerce and offices, all of them interrelated to a greater or lesser extent. We must not forget about time, from the moment that Anne Hidalgo proposed "The city the quarter of an hour" as an urban Project. Its goal is to arrive in that hypothetical quarter of an hour, either on foot or by bike, to the health centers, schools, shops, green areas or squares, providing daily services of proximity. That implies a radical change in the contemporary city.

This will require a public-private collaboration that we are not used to and, on the other hand, there are habits such as shopping at the corner store, which with the covid 19 have intensified, but will take time to recover in the short term. Once the commercial chains have taken the place of the small business, it will require significant aid for their return. Now that travel is difficult and public transport scares us, local networks have become efficient and provide confidence and security, the neighbour is made visible and neighborhood life becomes a solution.

The habits that have changed the most have been studying and working. The first, for social, psychological, learning and coexistence reasons, it seems that it will return to its channels with the necessary precautions. But for work, it does seem that there will be a before and after the pandemic. Once teleworking from home has become attractive to both employers and employees, returning to centralized offices will lead to thinking about the dispersion of large corporations in small offices, as the need to see each other face to face will not disappear. Along with the challenge of the technological transition, a diffuse network of shared work spaces will appear. This seems more feasible than modifying our houses. Another option that is proposed is the decentralization of tertiary employment, bringing it closer to housing and proposing different fabrics, reducing transport times and the risks that are perceived at the moment.


A relevant issue is that of housing. The dimensions and conditions of habitability are very heterogeneous and, as has been shown, although it was already known, in many cases they are unsuitable for long coexistence, much less to share family life with teleworking and this is going to require a strong public intervention in the offer of adapted and affordable housing. The transformation of houses with a minimum surface requires an unaffordable investment for an average family and demands new regulatory proposals that in the future contemplate new types of housing, addressing new sizes, design flexibility and control. It will demand a great capacity of management in the renovation of neighborhoods, investment and leadership. In other words, determined public management.

On the other hand, teleworking may be an opportunity to rebalance the territory by moving to small and medium cities. These are presented as an option, with a different offer of housing, a more affordable real estate market, shorter distances, greater public space and proximity to the countryside and an attractive situation just by addressing a better Internet offer and the improvement of basic facilities, in many cases, existing and underused ones.

This brings to the other important subject the public space, its design and uses. Who has passed the confinement in a house with a garden will tell a very different experience from the one that had a window as the only exit and many will have remembered the day they closed their terraces. The pandemic has highlighted spatial inequalities between those who had a private garden, live near or far from a park.

A healthier city requires giving public space back to citizens; greener, safer and more walkable streets and the empowerment of other modes of transport. The public space recovered with greater security, compatible with social distancing against the traditional congregation, will change; it must be reappropriated through the approach, in many cases, of new uses and design policies.

All this will go hand in hand with changes to public transport to regain confidence in its use and, of course, to propose strategies for more sustainable mobility, with the recovery of concerns about climate change, suddenly in the background and to which we must lend urgent care.

The pandemic can be, despite the negative of its presence, an opportunity, a catalyst to achieve a more resilient city.

María A. Leboreiro

Nota Legal
Directora: María A. Leboreiro Amaro, Dra. Arquitecto. Profesora Titular de la E.T.S. de Arquitectura de Madrid
Secretario de dirección: Alberto Leboreiro Amaro, Dr. Arquitecto
Secretario de redacción: David Hidalgo Pérez, Arquitecto
Consejo de redacción:

Miquel Adriá, director de la revista Arquine

Carmen Andrés Mateo, Arquitecta. Profesora Asociada de la E.T.S. de Arquitectura de Madrid

José Mª Ezquiaga Dominguez. Dr. Arquitecto. Profesor Titular de la E.T.S. de Arquitectura de Madrid

José Fariña Tojo. Dr. Arquitecto. Catedrático de la E.T.S. de Arquitectura de Madrid

Fernando Fernández Alonso. Arquitecto. Profesor Asociado de la E.T.S. de Arquitectura de Madrid

Josep Mª Llop Torne. Arquitecto. Profesor en la Facultad de Geografía de la Universidad de Lleida

Llanos Masiá González, Arquitecta. Profesora Asociada de la E.T.S. de Arquitectura de Madrid

Javier Ruiz Sánchez. Dr. Arquitecto. Profesor Titular de la E.T.S. de Arquitectura de Madrid

Edita: planur-e
Avda. Valdemarin, 68
28023 Madrid
Traducción: planur-e
ISSN: 2340-8235
Copyright: (2013): planur-e
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Planur-e: www.planur-e.es es una revista digital editada en España en materias de territorio, urbanismo, sostenibilidad, paisaje y diseño urbano. Nació con el objetivo de exponer buenas prácticas dando voz a los profesionales, planteando que sean los propios autores de los trabajos quienes los presenten. Se colabora así a su difusión, al tiempo que se ofrece, a aquellos que se aproximan al proyecto, la oportunidad de ver otras formas de trabajar y contrastar sus propias reflexiones y propuestas. Planur-e por sus características pretende llenar un hueco, dada la escasez de publicaciones en estas materias. Alcanza en este momento su número diez, con un planteamiento monográfico y da, al tiempo, en su Miscelánea cabida a múltiples temas. Cuenta ya con un número importante artículos alrededor de 150, hasta el momento, y con autores de muy distintos países, lo que enriquece su tarea de divulgación.

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