​Reinventing Cities, C40 & Madrid city council. Spain

November 2017 – March 2019

Reinventing Cities is a global competition to drive carbon-free, resilient urban regeneration, created by the C40 Climate Leadership Group of cities and supported by Climate KIC and ofo.

The competition promotes the transformation of underused spaces to redevelop them into new examples of sustainability and resilience. A total of 19 cities are participating in the contest, promoting different actions. In Madrid, the Urban Regeneration Strategy Action Plan has identified four locations in districts outside the M-30 ring road as Areas of Opportunity in which to intervene: an area in Puente de Vallecas, a site in Vicálvaro, another in Villaverde and a building in Usera.

In the Puente de Vallecas case the intervention is proposed on the southern campus of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, in the Arboleda area. It is an "area of opportunity" within the Strategic Plan for Urban Regeneration of Madrid for the potential it has to improve the urban structure of the district of Puente de Vallecas.

The aim is to solve the situation of urban isolation that the university centre currently suffers as it is surrounded by obsolete industrial land. The action aims to encourage new uses linked to the university and the venture act as a detonator to reactivate the industrial land adjacent to private property.

A building and a vacant lot, both belonging to the Polytechnic University of Madrid, are proposed as an area of action. The building, initially planned as a research centre, was built in 2000 and is in a good state of conservation. It has a very low use and occupancy in relation to its actual capacity. The idea is to reform the building introducing new uses and for the vacant lot the construction of an equipment is requested.

Our project Arboleda Smart_DRID is the vision for the South Campus of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid UPM in the Vallecas neighbourhood to become an innovation node around Artificial Intelligence (AI) talent and its applications into new products and services for society, for the business fabric, and for decision-making in the field of urban administration and talent/knowledge promotion. In essence an innovation ecosystem open to society, which will be a leader in IA and its applications in themes such as mobility, energy, health, and climate change (mitigation and adaptation). Also, a  "Smart" campus framed and integrated into its neighborhood, which benefits from such integration and contextualization to innovate together and for society. For the integration, orchestration and dynamisation of all innovative activity, avant-garde projects will be developed in blockchain that will allow the design of incentives and tokens that enable each of the stakeholders (citizens, university, administration, large companies and entrepreneurs) to participate in this ecosystem of wealth and wellbeing generation.

The project consists of a demonstration and an experimentation field for a new type of urban design, low carbon and resilient, which has a positive impact on the territory, so that both the spatial and connective dimension (geometry and relational topology) as well as the virtual environment will be complementary. This adaptation and positive impact will be based on a greater capacity to obtain data, both from the site and from the different themes mentioned above in the city of Madrid (through the integration of public data, private data with consent and new data from IoT Internet of Things devices).

Obtaining new emerging knowledge through AI technologies, and orchestration without intermediaries through blockchain technologies, which facilitates the approach of innovative and technological activity to society, will imply that the project becomes a reference in relation to the concept of citizen science.

The aspirational vision is that Madrid becomes the reference of an intelligent and human city, being Arboleda Smart_DRID the "brain" that allows treating the city as a complex and living (adaptive) system, which can be better managed and have greater resilience through the obtaining of non-obvious knowledge that emerges when data is combined from different sources and all participants are orchestrated with "just" incentives. It is therefore a "country" project as part of a vital and innovative society.


ICATALIST has participated in the Puente de Vallecas contest as responsible for the team and for the design and implementation of phases 1 and 2. At the same time, ICATALIST has been in charge of the drafting of the proposal, offering innovative solutions adapted to climate change, combining it with a sustainable architecture designed by our partners and with benefits for local communities.


If the project wins the contest ICATALIST would be responsible for the general coordination of the project, the environmental aspects, the dynamization and creation of the digital platform, as well as its technical application to innovation for climate change resilience