Whether you’re from the U.S. and call it a “Beltway” or Europe and call it a “Ring road,” Madrid will be calling it the “green way” soon enough, as the Spanish capital aims to combat their city’s island of heat by encircling themselves with a sea of green.
Their urban forest project will involve planting nearly a half million trees on a 46-mile perimeter (75-km) around the city. When the trees have reached maturity, they should absorb around 175,000 tons of CO2 per year.
Black pine, beech, Spanish juniper and various oak species can all be found in the arid middle of Spain wherein lies the Spanish capital, and it is these native trees which require little water or specialized soil conditions that will constitute the new forest.
“What we want to do is to improve the air quality in the whole city, to fight the ‘heat island’ effect that is happening inside the city, to absorb the greenhouse emissions generated by the city, and to connect all the existing forest masses that already exist around the city,” Mariano Fuentes told Euronews.
As Madrid’s councilor for the environment and urban development, Fuentes explained that for cities that belch three-quarters of all human-caused CO2, which tend to absorb much more heat and poor air than surrounding countryside, methods for combating climate change and general environmental degradation need to be varied.
“It has to be a global strategy,” added Fuentes. “It’s not only about cars, but also a pedestrianization strategy, the creation of environmental corridors in every district… and most of all… to engage citizens in this new green culture, it is essential for every city to face the near future in the best conditions.”
Experts assured reporters that “it’s not a park,” but certainly for nature-loving Madrileños, it will be a place of respite, shade, and bird habitat that will work night and day to absorb excess heat and clean the air of the European mega-city.