Month: April 2013

Centrality and periphery in Madrid since 2000 (9) Campo de las Naciones

cnac

The Campo de las Naciones occupied in 2009 the sixth place in the region, with a GDP of 2.171 million euros. With 1.464 residents and 18.591 jobs (housing and jobs are almost a km away, again an effect of census block design for population census), the ratio is 12 jobs per resident. It was the tenth census block in the region by job number.

The area is also the location for the IFEMA fair compound, which generates most of the activity (being near the airport has helped, and there is a subway link to the airport and to the central city through Azca), and also the location of an office base; a part is on the entry to the fair and a sizeable part on a narrow strip between rail and the M-40 beltway. The floor area includes 478.000 sq m of parking, 363.000 sq m of offices, 64.523 sq m of dwellings (quite far from the former), 53.000 sq m of hotels and restaurants, and 3.900 sq m of retail. The most interesting architecture is that of the fair (in its gigantic lot there are 590.000 sq m of floor area), but they are not really related to the public space; the Juan Carlos I park represents the Spanish landscape design of the 1990s, and it is by far the most used public space in the area, with most people coming by car, as it is surrounded by infrastructural barriers; it is a good belvedere on northeastern Madrid.

Barajas airport, as seen from the Juan Carlos I park

Barajas airport, as seen from the Juan Carlos I park

This is not a real urban centrality (few large fair facilities in the world are), but rather a single role enclave with a high GDP figure which comes from a more complex system (this would not happen without the freeways and the airport).People coming to the area can reach an impressive figure during a convention and there are a handful of corporate headquarters, but use diversity is not enough, and this being a small urban fabric isolated from other areas it sees any complementarities happen by car, which dilutes their reach.

Floor area for offices and, for some lots, number of cadastral office spaces

Floor area for offices and, for some lots, number of cadastral office spaces

Location of the housing spaces

Location of the housing spaces

The housing area as seen from the Park

The housing area as seen from the Park

Juan Carlos I Park, and on the foreground, works in Valdebebas

Juan Carlos I Park, and on the foreground, works in Valdebebas

Centrality and periphery in Madrid since 2000 (8) Azca

The southeast corner of Azca, a powerful public transport hub. On the right, BBVA building by Sainz de Oiza

The southeast corner of Azca, a powerful public transport hub. On the right, BBVA building by Sainz de Oiza

The census block of Azca had the third highest position in the region, with a GDP of 2.564 million euros. With 1.540 residents and 41.734 jobs (highest value in the region for a census block, there were 27 jobs per resident.

A bunch of towers of different architectural merit and a public landscape wich deceives in some areas, with the usual corridors on different levels that remind, of all things, a feeling of insecurity; but also some noteworthy architectures, as Oiza’s BBVA, and also the certainty of an “imperial” postwar “dream” that was not to finally happen.

Gradient of housing floor area by lot and, for some lots, number of dwellings

Gradient of housing floor area by lot and, for some lots, number of dwellings

Gradient of office floor area and, for some lots, number of cadastral spaces registered as offices, by lot

Gradient of office floor area and, for some lots, number of cadastral spaces registered as offices, by lot

The total built-up area is over 1,24 million sq m, with 10% used for housing. So the average apartment is 85 sq m, and for each worker there is a combined average of 27 sq m of built up space, excluding only the housing floor area. There is half a million sq m in offices, and 130.000 m2 of retail (El Corte Inglés, mainly). The most striking figure is the fact that 28,5% of the floor area is occupied by parking (354.000 sq m…)

52 of the floor area is from before 1980 (including all the dwellings) and 41% from the 1980-2000 period.

The origins of Azca in the post-war Plan Bidagor, as a commercial area

The origins of Azca in the post-war Plan Bidagor, as a commercial area

Centrality and periphery in Madrid since 2000 (7)

Which are the spatial conditions of the most productive zones? As productivity depends on the acts of persons in a given context of price, competition, regulation and technology, I am not sure that the spatial conditions are fully determinant; the urban tissue has an inertia that the economic flux has not. Do not take this as a vote for “anything goes”; it is rather a reason to provide as high an architectural and environmental quality as you can, as it will be tested by an economic environment that will no doubt evolve. Anyway, it seems relevant to see what happened in Madrid in 2009 (last year with available statistics).

pib2009-centr

The next articles will be about five of the census blocks with the highest GDP in 2009 in central Madrid and its surroundings:

 Azca (3)

Campo de las Naciones (6)

Banco de España (9)

Ciudad Universitaria (12)

Julián Camarillo (13)

Biblio (38) The spatial economy

In 2001 Masahisa Fujita, Paul Krugman and Anthony Venables published “The Spatial Economy. Cities, Regions and International Trade”; the book is on sale, and you can access the intro chapter on Paul Krugman’s website. As those following this blog know, I am no economist, but I am interested on how such economy influences cities; some of the issues raised in the book refer to economic theories that I simply do not know, or that I could not judge by lack of knowledge, or event some that could raise my skepticism, not so much about their intellectual construction as about their practical utility. Despite that, I find interesting the way in which the evolution of the discipline is described, as leaning progressively, at least for some, rather towards what can be modeled into equations and not the whole picture.

Centrality and periphery in Madrid since 2000 (6)

Jobs in 2009: on the first layer, as pink shade, census blocks in which there were 1 to 3 jobs per resident; as an orange shade, census blocks over 3 jobs per resident

Jobs in 2009: on the first layer, as pink shade, census blocks in which there were 1 to 3 jobs per resident; as an orange shade, census blocks over 3 jobs per resident; the second layer shows the 20 census blocks with the highest employment-residents ratio in the region

Centrality depends on jobs, but not exclusively. In 2009 most of the census blocks in Madrid had less workers in the firms on site than residents registered in the municipality; it is pertinent to remind that the census block is a zone defined for population censuses, and so their area varies, being much larger on rural or industrial areas, with small permanent populations.

The balance between jobs and residents has been an obsession of planning for much of the last decades, as it could help optimize the mobility systems and public facilities, and to avoid monofunctional neighborhoods; in countries deemed to be advanced, where the job history of each citizen is becoming less uniform and stable, this is becoming harder. Despite that, an indicator of centrality of a zone can be the ratio between workers and residents up to a certain point; too many workers and you loose diversity, or you are entirely in a single function space, as industrial areas.

In central Madrid there is a clear north-south corridor with many sections in which there are more than 3 jobs per resident; a large part of the Barrio de Salamanca and the surroundings of Gran Vía were in that condition. The analysis of the census blocks of the whole region show the highest values in industrial areas, the Barajas airport (1), the rail yards of Atocha Station (2) or the University City (3), mainly monofunctional spaces. There is also Azca (4), an attempt from the 1960 to configure a sky-scrapers area, and the surroundings of Cibeles and the Bank of Spain (5) with many public and private institutions; in this cases the census blocks are somehow moderate in size, and they are inserted in a more populated environment, without physical barriers, and accessible by all means of transportation, so they definitely are central.

Inside the M-30 beltway the average value in 2009 was 0,85 jobs per resident.

As pink shade, census blocks in which there were 1 to 3 jobs per resident; as an orange shade, census blocks over 3 jobs per resident

Centrality and periphery in Madrid since 2000 (5)

pib2004-2009

Centrality and money can be in parallel. The analysis of the GDP data for the Madrid region in 2004 and 2009 (a provisional result in the second case) show that between both years the aggregate value for the region rised over 25%. We must still see what the figure will be at the end of the current crisis, but anyway it is interesting to see the spatial share of that revenue by census block. To get a fast idea on that, when you sort the census blocks with the higher GDP, in 2004 the highest figure was that of the large concentration of offices and retail in Arroyo de la Vega, Alcobendas, just north of the new Telefonica headquarters. The 20 first census blocks (of some 4.000) concentrated an 18% of the Regional GDP, and 16 of these census blocks were in the Madrid municipality.

In 2009 the first 20 census blocks add up about 18% of the regional GDP, but only 13 are on the Madrid municipality. The sprawl trend is clear. Anyway, the area inside the M-30 beltway concentrated about a third of the aggregate regional GDP, with small variation when compared overall to 2004.

Centrality and periphery in Madrid since 2000 (4)

Ridership by transportation corridor for interurban buses in 2011 (CRTM data)

Ridership by transportation corridor for interurban buses in 2011 (CRTM data)

Many statistical data sets can have some inertia, as they can show data which only changes when an administrative record is updated; cadastral data used in precedent posts is relevant, but in a crisis such as the present one, they can mask in some areas an “empty shell” reality (I am sure the cadastral data on current uses in Detroit is far from reflecting real issues in many parts of the city…). Transit ridership seems more pertinent in many senses, altough it can have less detail.

The 2011 yearly report by CRTM, the metropolitan transportation authority for Madrid, shows significan statistical information; and altough the geographical segmentation of the report is somehow less detailed than what I would like for that purpose, central Madrid still appears as the core of metropolitan activities.

Centrality and periphery in Madrid since 2000 (3)

Main retail elements in Madrid an its close metropolitan area, according to nomecalles

Main retail elements in Madrid an its close metropolitan area, according to nomecalles

Retail centrality follows the offer and demand of products that are not purchased on a daily basis (apparel, shoes, leisure products…). These products are also segmented according to qualities and prices. As in many Spanish cities, in Madrid El Corte Inglés is the only department store chain of relevance, polarizing clearly the large retail centralities, with differente conditions in each place: popular and touristic in Sol- Callao,  higher level at the Barrio de Salamanca, adaptation to a site marked by the presence of corporate headquarters in Azca, east of Tetuan… the city has many large malls, but they are few inside the M30 beltway and in peripheral situations. The most varied centrality due to its combination with the leisure activities is the Distrito Centro, the Gran Vía, Preciados and Arenal axis; it is followed by that of the Barrio de Salamanca, with a demand more oriented towards richer clients.

Areas with the highest commercial densities (cadastral built up areas of that use)

Areas with the highest commercial densities (cadastral built up areas of that use)

Centrality and periphery in Madrid since 2000 (2)

Residential density on pre-1979 buildings

Residential density on pre-1979 buildings

Urban centrality is one of these complex concepts which are easier to recognize in everyday life than to describe with rigor and precision; this complicates (but does not prevent) actions to foster its positive effects.

As some have said, the center is, simply, this place to which everyone wants to go; to some this means, ideally, the place to which young people go to learn, but also to celebrate, and older people go to work, but also to enjoy, and there is also a lot of residents. To others, it is place with many roles, but few residents so they do not have to endure the burdens of congestion. And in real life, it is not so much a geographically defined space, with a closed shape, immune to change over time, but an area that evolves even along a single day, in which the most central areas are those that around the clock maintain for longer that centrality condition, always marked by the ability to attract external people.

What would be central Madrid? As it is a city with some history (although not that long, as somehow Madrid was to the European XVIth century what Brasilia has been to the American XXth), there are some physical limits; time and the inertia of capital infrastructure investments over decades have configured a space, coincident with the Centro ward, where converge the main transit lines and streets. It is the most iconic center nowadays, but up to the end of the XXth century it was the whole of the city, and this complexity is still apparent. The XIXth century Ensanche and the industrial extension towards Arganzuela only helped to stretch that center, an operation fostered also by the Gran Vía opening.

The consolidation of the Ensanche for a century and its better socioeconomic conditions as compared to the slums of Tetuan and Puente de Vallecas, almost contemporary in their development, helped the rise to centrality for that space, and more clearly around its western edge. And the northbound extension configures an axis around the Paseo de la Castellana in which by the mid 2000s there were already 3 jobs for each registered resident.

When we were called to write the Proyecto Madrid Centro (PMC), the City of Madrid considered that the scope for study and intervention should essentially be what is inside the M-30 beltway, which is as saying that the center of Metro New York is the whole of Mannhattan island, Paris 75 is the center of the Parisian metropolitan area, and the Ciudad Autonoma is the core of Buenos Aires. Work showed that this is just a simplification; on such scales the metropolitan dynamics and the fluidity of the transportation systems make for a more complex reality. Real centrality, as a combination of multiple roles able to attract external populations on a large scale, is the overlay of the Castellana Axis, the Centro ward and the Barrio de Salamanca, but there are also more local centralities; their future is threatened by the economic crisis, which seems to reinforce the attraction of the most central areas, aided by tourism flows, when compared to neighborhood centralities, more stressed in their retail role.

Centrality and periphery in Madrid since 2000 (1)

constr-rehab2000-2013-en

The municipality of Madrid has slightly over 600 sq km, similar to the island of Menorca. But this size is the result of annexations, the last one being in 1960.

These annexations have allowed a uniformity in the way the structural systems are conceived, and especially the streets grid, which are not always present in metropolitan areas (for instance, in London or Paris such an area would be cut out among a myriad of municipalities), even if Madrid is today way larger than its municipality. This has allowed also an urban growth policy under a somehow homogeneous regulation: the result has been a relevant growth which, under a context of stagnant birth rates and reversed demographic glows, means a growing percentage of empty homes, which includes the sizeable amount of recently built homes.

The existing city renews, on the other hand, quite slowly.