Urban Ecosystems: Mobility, Sustainability and Social Cohesion


Urban Ecosystems: Mobility, Sustainability and Social Cohesion

Image Ecosistemas Urbanos: Movilidad, Sostenibilidad y Cohesión Social

The MWCC-driven panel discussion "Cities and Challenges of the Future" and organised by Dir&Ge, brought together leading managers and experts from the sector to address the challenges and opportunities facing cities in the modern era. Cities, as epicentres of human activity, are engines of innovation, connectivity and progress. However, their continued growth presents significant challenges that must be addressed to ensure a sustainable future and a high quality of life for all their inhabitants.

Mobility has established itself as one of the fundamental pillars in shaping resilient and liveable cities. In an ever urbanising world, the efficient management of public transport, the promotion of sustainable mobility alternatives and the integration of emerging technologies have become essential to improve the quality of urban life and reduce the environmental footprint. In addition, urban development plays a crucial role in planning and designing environments that promote social cohesion, accessibility and efficiency. Creating green spaces, revitalising degraded areas and promoting smart densification are key strategies for building more liveable and equitable cities.

Managing essential resources such as energy and effective water governance is an increasingly urgent challenge. The development of resilient infrastructure and the implementation of energy efficiency and water management policies are fundamental to ensure the availability and accessibility of these vital resources. In the social fabric of the cities of the future, sociology plays a key role in addressing the dynamics of inclusion, diversity and citizen participation. Understanding the interactions between people and cities, promoting social cohesion and equity, is essential to forging resilient and vibrant communities.

Urbanism and Sustainable Growth

COAM Director General Ángela Baldellou highlighted the complexity of cities as dynamic and multifaceted ecosystems. "Madrid is destined to be the fastest growing city in Europe by 2050. This growth must be accompanied by a humanistic urbanism that puts people at the centre of urban planning. It is crucial to design spaces that foster social interaction, creativity and well-being, while addressing environmental challenges and promoting a robust local economy."
David García Nuñez, Director of Communications and Marketing for FCC Construction & Chairman of "Madrid World Capital" (MWCC), emphasised the importance of continuous dialogue between peri-urban and urban spaces. "It is vital to give citizens the freedom to move around freely, integrating the private car with other mobility options. Technology plays an essential role in promoting this flexibility and accessibility. Public-private partnerships are also essential to build successful connected cities and spaces. We must constantly innovate to offer citizens multiple transport options, thereby reducing congestion and improving efficiency".
In turn, Isabel Gorgoso, New Mobility Director at Cepsa, underlined that mobility needs vary not only because of current circumstances, but also because of changes in the use of infrastructure by different generations. "It is necessary to offer adapted responses to all citizens. To achieve this, the regulatory framework must support this flexibility and development by setting clear objectives that allow all actors to work in the same direction. Businesses have a responsibility to effectively communicate the benefits of different mobility options, with a clear vision in integrated city planning."
Mobility and Technology
The General Manager of Free Now Spain, Isabel García Frontera, highlighted the importance of sharing data to have a broader view of the different realities and opportunities. "The value of the information held by different companies is invaluable. Sharing this data will allow us to create more efficient, operational and inclusive cities. Involving and listening to the citizen in thinking and decision-making on urban planning and development is essential. Only then will we be able to build cities that are truly adapted to the needs of their inhabitants."
"the solutions to respond to mobility needs are not unique, they must be a conjunction of different approaches and participating agents" explained Bruno Brito, Operations Director of ANFAC & CEO of Ideauto. "Mobility must be part of citizens' freedom, and it is essential to listen to find the best options. On this path, technology is a great ally, but always focused on a real application. Our goal must be the integration of all transport possibilities, optimising their use and accessibility to create a cohesive and efficient mobility system".
Guillermo Castrillo, Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer at Iryo pointed out that in many cases we get carried away by the inertia of what we have been doing in terms of mobility. "Although there are many 'mobility as a service' tools, we must overcome the comfort of always moving in the same way. Comprehensive transport planning is essential to continuously adapt and respond effectively to the changing needs of the population. Only in this way can we move towards a more dynamic and adaptive transport system."
Resource Management and Legal Certainty
For his part, Carlos Pérez Villegas, Head of Residential Recharging and Smart Mobility Alliances at Iberdrola highlighted the importance of providing the necessary means and legal certainty to facilitate the implementation of innovative solutions. "It is essential to listen to other visions and avoid tunnel vision. Habits are changing, and we must respond to present needs and anticipate future ones in order to be prepared. Flexibility and anticipation are key to success in urban management, ensuring that our cities can adapt and thrive in a constantly changing environment."
The debate concluded with a synthesis of the main ideas provided and the roundtable participants agreed that technological innovation, public-private collaboration and citizen participation are essential to build more sustainable, inclusive and liveable cities. Mobility, urban planning and efficient resource management must be addressed holistically to ensure the development of resilient cities. Urban planning must be people-centred, fostering social interaction and community well-being, while promoting a sustainable local economy and addressing environmental challenges. This holistic and collaborative approach is crucial to forging cities that are more sustainable, inclusive and ready to face the challenges of the 21st century.