Reimagining Madrid as a zero energy city

Dream Madrid

Reimagining Madrid as a zero energy city

The Architect’s Newspaper (AN) has partnered with urbanNext—a multidisciplinary platform for design promoted by Actar Publishers—to share articles on common topics every two weeks.

This week, we’re pairing the urbanNext article below with AN’s “NYC releases major climate change plan aligned with Paris Agreement.” This article was authored by José Luis Esteban Penelas.

Constructing Dreams of Energy

Welcome to a dream.

Today’s metacities are formed by liquid and fluid mechanisms of energy. It is important to understand that the changes that occur due to their collective inhabitants make them capable of mutating at great speed. Cities that appear to be motionless generate a spatial multiplicity; they mirror the paradigm of production (Jean Baudrillard). Today’s cities arise as energy cities. They are supercities of today’s post-industrial era of supermodernity (Daniel Bell).

Madrid Zero Energy is an example for the twenty-first century. Our proposal is an open dream of the future, developing thoughts and projects, and building up from a human scale to a territorial scale; a zero energy dream where the protagonist is the human being, where the city of Madrid is an example of zero consumption and a healthy citizenry.

Architecture and urbanism are shaped by a complexity of actions, and through these creative actions, subsequent thoughts emerge. They are also poetic. Today’s architecture changes at a vertiginous speed, and the way it has been understood for almost the past two thousand years is mutating. The concepts of velocity, spectacle, anonymity, limits, mobility, sustainability, health, and energy define the parameters of today’s globalized society.

Madrid: Fresh Air, Zero Consumption, Healthy, Glo-cal Madrid

Throughout its history, Madrid has been treasured for its fresh air—a great tradition which is currently being recovered through the actions of zero consumption. This concept is linked to the “commons” of the Seoul Biennale. We are generating a new Madrid Zero Energy. It is understood, in time and space, through communication, through urban and territorial infrastructure (highways, metro, trains, cycling lanes, buses, and green corridors) and through high-speed infrastructure (AVE, the supergeneration of new infrastructures, the real-time transmission of images through mobile phones), all of which are susceptible to being rethought, reanalyzed, and transformed. All of this is aimed toward zero consumption and interactive processes that branch and become interconnected: the city of Madrid.Madrid is a metacity. Its form is predictable and projectable through new computational energy—systems that make its real-time adaptation possible. The emerging needs of society’s communication are met through the strengthening of super-infrastructures.A rethinking and evolution of the city of Madrid will inevitably keep mutating toward other configurations that express new conditions of this territorial and glo-cal supercity: a city of six million inhabitants, a glo-cal insertion with a common, variable intercultural program that can be altered with the idiosyncrasies of each country, connectable to other cities in the global context.

Computational Zero Energy Systems: Planning Madrid for the Twenty-First Century 

Presenting Madrid as a future global city, Madrid Zero Energy is the outcome of continuous research conducted for more than a decade on public urban space and regeneration, and it proposes an “advanced evolution” in urban thinking: “A new profile for twenty-first century cities in an era of super modernity.”

The aim of this meta Madrid Zero Energy is to become self-sufficient by 2025, an estimation which, according to research conducted by the municipality, will be possible. The dream is for Madrid to become a city of zero consumption, a new meta energy zero consumption city (“meta” from the Greek meaning “further” and “beyond”). From here we generate a computational intelligent energy system capable of real-life adaptation, based on the development of a fluid network.

Five Energy Concepts

DREAMadrid integrates five strong core concepts into generic public, urban, and metropolitan spaces as part of a global network of similar nodes, where citizens become aware of the environment’s performance:

— Future (establishing design as a tool to produce a tangible future)

— Environments and ecology (as constitutive parts of the future)

— Enjoyment (as a productive tool oriented toward sustainability)

— Zero consumption and health (Madrid to become a 100% healthy city)

— Citizens’ participation in Madrid will count on citizens’ real-time participation

DREAMadrid explores the limits of these mutable scenarios via a shared working methodology based on parallel and co-evolving strategies, and it develops urban strategies based on the growth of Madrid as an almost unique example of the development of a city based on Zero Energy. The vision is propelled by the municipality.

Future Energy

Our urban areas cannot continue to grow as they have done in the past. In this era of changing demographics and supermodernity (Marc Augé), diminishing resources, and climate change, new models for living are needed. In others words: How can we live in our unstable and fluctuating contemporary cities? DREAMadrid explores and presents new models for living in future cities at four scales (human, residential, urban, and territorial) based on health and zero consumption.

DREAMadrid… dreaming the future energy.

Curators: Jose Luis Esteban Penelas, James London Mills, Santiago Porras Alvarez, Daniel Valle Almagro, Maria Esteban Casanas. 
Participants & Affiliations: COAM Official Chamber of Architects of Madrid, Universidad Europea de Madrid, UEM, Ayuntamiento de Madrid (Municipality of Madrid), AIR LAB Architectural International Research Laboratory Design Institute, Grupo Tecma Red S.L., Carto.