The Landscape Bioengineering Association organized its III R&D Bioengineering Event May 9th and 10th at the Forestry Engineering College of the Madrid Polytechnic University, this year dedicated to Green Infrastructure and Sustainable Drainage systems. The objective of this event was to analyze the future of green infrastructure and sustainable drainage concepts in the urban realm, and the management of flood risk with these solutions, integrating watershed and urban planning, landscape bioengineering and hydrology techniques. Susana Canogar participated with a presentation on sustainable drainage and landscaping at the Valdebebas development project in Madrid.
Tuesday, 9 de May de 2017
Susana Canogar has been part of the Valdebebas project from the outstart and she spoke of some of the sustainable issues that that were the basis for planning: creating a dense urban fabric that would allow public transport to serve the new district, mixed use to give a greater vigor to the city streets, and the importance of green open space in improving environmental conditions in the city. She spoke of the Green Connector system that sponges the urban footprint, creating pedestrian itineraries toward the large Forestry Park of Valdebebas, the green lung of the project, and how open space has been designed to manage stormwater and so avoid its collection in a conventional catch basin system and being treated far away at a water plant. Valdebebas has pioneered the use of green areas as green infrastructure, and is considered a reference for SuDS systems, with the installation of underground infiltration boxes that collect water and then liberate water in storm episodes to the replenish freatic waters. She also spoke in general of the effort that has been made toward sustainable landscape and water management practices, including a sophisticated centrally automated drip irrigation system. The street trees in Valdebebas are another important component of the green infrastructure system, offering environmental services such as reducing temperatures in summer, creating shade for pedestrian itineraries and filtering air contaminants.
She ended her presentation mentioning maintenance as an important weak point for the city of Madrid, showing images of the decline of the landscaping in Valdebebas after the contract was left out and in limbo for two years at the out start of new integral contracts that came into effect in the city of Madrid in 2013, an administrative problem that has only just been corrected. She proposed a future conservation contract for the whole of the Valdebeas area: urban parks, Forestry Park and the future Central Park, so that the green open space network can fully achieve its role as green infrastructure, as conceived.
Previously Edy López Folguiera, of the Madrid City Council, talked of her participation in the project and building of the large Valdebebas Forestry Park, over 370 ha in surface area. She explained the recreation of natural ecosystems and the techniques used to manage storm waters to recreate water features. At the conclusion of the morning session, there was a discussion panel in which it became evident that the low city maintenance budget is a handicap for the evolution of green infrastructure in Madrid, unless it is made a political priority, although SuDS systems seem to be here to stay.