Sustainable urban development and the role of mega-projects: Experts’ view about Madrid Nuevo Norte Project

Theodore Metaxas, Jaime S. Gallego, Laura Juarez

Article ID: 2161
Vol 7, Issue 2, 2023

VIEWS - 1135 (Abstract) 460 (PDF)


The present paper discusses the case of the Madrid Nuevo Norte Project (MNNP) in order to examine the relation of this mega-project with the city’s sustainable development. For this reason, the study used a qualitative approach using semi-structural interviews with experts (Madrid’s town hall, Madrid State, and the program management office and other external) that relayed strongly with MNNP. The expert panel requirements are split in six expertise areas: sustainability, urban development, urban planning, government or public affairs, project management or Madrid Nuevo Norte (MNN) key stakeholders. The study highlighted the vital importance of MNNP as a flagship sustainable project for the rest of Europe, that meets sustainability criteria for contributing substantially in the improvement of the quality of life of final users and for the community in general. For instance, it contributes to the regeneration of the city’s degraded area, to the interconnection of an isolated part of the city and public transportation connection, improving the external image of Madrid. Despite of it, there are some challenges that should be carefully managed such as applying sustainable solutions from other cities not properly tailored to Madrid, housing pricing accessibility increase due to the lack of terrain in Madrid and the politization of the project as discussion topic between local parties. In this context, local authorities should give particular emphasis in complying with the principles of sustainability for improving the overall performance of MNNP, ensuring social justice and prosperity for the people of Madrid.


mega-projects; urban sustainable development; experts; Madrid Nuevo Norte Project (MNNP); Madrid; qualitative approach

Full Text:



Abril IN (2020). Gender impact assessments, a tool for the implementation of the new urban agenda: The case of Madrid Nuevo Norte. In: De Madariaga IS, Neuman M (editors). Engendering Cities. Routledge. p. 14.

Ahmed Z, Ahmad M, Rjoub H, et al. (2019). Economic growth, renewable energy consumption, and ecological footprint: Exploring the role of environmental regulations and democracy in sustainable development. Sustainable Development 30(4): 595–605. doi: 10.1002/sd.2251

Alberti M (1996). Measuring urban sustainability. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 16: 381–424. doi: 10.1016/S0195-9255(96)00083-2

Anholt S (2008). Place branding: Is it marketing, or isn’t it? Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 4: 1–6. doi: 10.1057/palgrave.pb.6000088

Annan KA (2002). Toward a sustainable future. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development 44(7): 10–15. doi: 10.1080/00139150209605802

Ashworth JG, Voogd H (1990). Selling the City. Belhaven Press.

Banihashemi S, Hosseini MR, Golizadeh H, Sankaran S (2017). Critical success factors (CSFs) for integration of sustainability into construction project management practices in developing countries. International Journal of Project Management 35: 1103–1119. doi: 10.1016/j.ijproman.2017.01.014

Baron N, Fernandez AG (2019). Grand project and urban governmentality in Madrid: Functions, fictions, frictions (French). Annales de Géographie 3(727): 94–115.

Basias N, Pollalis Y (2018). Quantitative and qualitative research in business & technology: Justifying a suitable research methodology. Review of Integrative Business and Economics Research 7: 91–105.

Biswas AK (2008). Integrated water resources management: Is it working? International Journal of Water Resources Development 24: 15–22. doi: 10.1080/07900620701871718

Bramley G, Watkins D (2016). Housebuilding, demographic change and affordability as outcomes of local planning decisions: Exploring interactions using a sub-regional model of housing markets in England. Progress in Planning 104: 1–35. doi: 10.1016/j.progress.2014.10.002

Bulkeley H (2006). Urban sustainability: Learning from best practice? Environment and Planning A 38: 1029–1044. doi: 10.1068/a37300

Caldas C, Gupta A (2017). Critical factors impacting the performance of mega-projects. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management 24(6): 920–934. doi: 10.1108/ECAM-05-2016-0117

Charmaz K (2014). Constructing Grounded Theory. Introducing Qualitative Methods, 2nd ed. SAGE.

Clayton MJ (1997). Delphi: A technique to harness expert opinion for critical decision-making tasks in education. Educational Psychology 17(4): 373–384. doi: 10.1080/0144341970170401

Conroy MM, Berke PR (2004). What makes a good sustainable development plan? An analysis of factors that influence principles of sustainable development. Environment and Planning A 36(8): 1381–1396. doi: 10.1068/a367

Dahri S, Omri A (2018). Entrepreneurship contribution to the three pillars of sustainable development: What does the evidence really say? World Development 106: 64–77. doi: 0.1016/j.worlddev.2018.01.008

DCN (2021). Distrito Castellana Norte (DCN) presents its report for social commitment. Available online: (accessed on 14 August 2023).

Deffner A, Karachalis N, Psatha E, et al. (2020). City marketing and planning in two Greek cities: Plurality or constraints? European Planning Studies 28: 1333–1354. doi: 10.1080/09654313.2019.1701291

Del Cerro Santamaria G (2019). Megaprojects, development and competitiveness: Building the infrastructure for globalization and neoliberalism. Athens Journal of Social Sciences 6(4): 263–290.

Dempsey N, Bramley G, Power S, Brown C (2011). The social dimension of sustainable development: Defining urban social sustainability. Sustainable Development 19(5): 289–300. doi: 10.1002/sd.417

Denicol J, Davies A, Krystallis I (2020). What are the causes and cures of poor megaproject performance? A systematic literature review and research agenda. Project Management Journal 51(3). doi: 10.1177/8756972819896113

Dewey OF, Davis DE (2013). Planning, politics, and urban mega-projects in developmental context: Lessons from Mexico City’s airport controversy. Journal of Urban Affairs 35(5): 531–551. doi: 10.1111/juaf.12012

Diamantini C, Zanon B (2000). Planning the urban sustainable development: The case of the plan for the province of Trento, Italy. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 20(3): 299–310. doi: 10.1016/S0195-9255(00)00042-1

Dogan E, Stupar A (2017). The limits of growth: A case study of three mega-projects in Istanbul. Cities 60: 281–288. doi: 10.1016/j.cities.2016.09.013

Ewing R, Keith B (2009). Comparing land use forecasting methods: Expert panel versus spatial interaction model. Journal of the American Planning Association 75(3): 343–357. doi: 10.1080/01944360902956296

Fainshmidt S, Michael A, Witt RV, Verbeke A (2020). The contributions of qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) to international business research. Journal of International Business Studies 51(4): 455–466. doi: 10.1057/s41267-020-00313-1

Floricel S, Miller R (2001). Strategizing for anticipated risks and turbulence in large-scale engineering projects. International Journal of Project Management 19(2001): 445–455. doi: 10.1016/S0263-7863(01)00047-3

Flyvbjerg B (2009). Survival of the unfit-test: Why the worst infrastructure gets built—And what we can do about it. Oxford Review of Economic Policy 25(3): 344–367. doi: 10.1093/oxrep/grp024

Flyvbjerg B (2017). Introduction: The iron law of megaproject management. In: Flyvbjerg B (editor). The Oxford Handbook of Megaproject Management. Oxford University Press. pp. 1–18.

Garcia MDMH (2017). The cities as a goal of development sustainable. bie3: IEEE Bulletin 5: 22–32.

Gastaldi F, Camerin F (2018). Urban transformations and major events in Italy and Spain from 1992. Territorial Studies 50(196).

Giezen M, Bertolini L, Salet W (2015). Adaptive capacity within a mega project: A case study on planning and decision-making in the face of complexity. European Planning Studies 23(5): 999–1018. doi: 10.1080/09654313.2014.916254

Gollin D, Jedwab R, Vollrath D (2016). Urbanization with and without industrialization. Journal of Economic Growth 21: 35–70. doi: 10.1007/s10887-015-9121-4

Gordillo JDB, Elizalde NFL (2018). Impacts of sustainable and traditional construction at the environmental level. Environmental Seeds Bulletin 12(1): 16–25.

Gospodini A (2005). Urban development, redevelopment and regeneration encouraged by transport infrastructure projects: The case study of 12 European cities. European Planning Studies 13(7): 1083–1111. doi: 10.1080/09654310500242121

Guala C (2015). Mega Events Images and Legacy from the Olympics to the Expo (Italian). Carocci Publisher.

Griggs DM, Stafford SJ, Rockström MC, et al. (2014). An integrated framework for sustainable development goals. Ecology and Society 19(4): 49. doi: 10.5751/ES-07082-190449

Hamnet C, Shoval N (2003). Museums as flagships of urban development. In: Hoffman LM, Fainstein S, Judd DR (editors). Cities and Visitors: Regulating People, Markets and City Space. Blackwell. pp. 219–235.

Hannan S, Sunderland C (2015). Mega-projects and sustainability in Durban, South Africa: Convergent or divergent agendas? Habitat International 1–8. doi: 10.1016/j.habitatint.2014.02.002

Hansson AG (2017). Promoting planning for housing development: What can Sweden learn from Germany? Land Use Policy 64: 470–478. doi: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2017.03.012

Hurtado SDG (2017). Is EU urban policy transforming urban regeneration in Spain? Answers from an analysis of the Iniciativa Urbana (2007–2013). Cities 60: 402–414. doi: 10.1016/j.cities.2016.10.015

Kain JH, Soderberg H (2008). Management of complex knowledge in planning for sustainable development: The use of multi-criteria decision aids. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 28(1): 7–21. doi: 10.1016/j.eiar.2007.03.007

Kalair A, Abas N, Saleem MS, et al. (2021). Role of energy storage systems in energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables. Energy Storage 3(1). doi: 10.1002/est2.135

Karji A, Woldesenbet A, Khanzadi M, Tafazzoli M (2019). Assessment of social sustainability indicators in mass housing construction: A case study of Mehr housing project. Sustainable Cities and Society 50: 101697. doi: 10.1016/j.scs.2019.101697

Kavaratzis M (2004). From city marketing to city branding: Towards a theoretical framework for developing city brands. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 1: 58–73. doi: 10.1057/palgrave.pb.5990005

Kennedy L, Robbins G, Bon B, et al. (2014). Megaprojects and urban development in cities of the south. Available online: (accessed on 18 August 2023).

Kennedy L (2015). The politics and changing paradigm of megaproject development in metropolitan cities. Habitat International 45(3): 163–168. doi: 10.1016/j.habitatint.2014.07.001

Kopp JM, Petretta DL (2017). The urban sustainable development goal: Indicators, complexity and the politics of measuring cities. Cities 63: 92–97. doi: 10.1016/j.cities.2016.12.019

Kotler P, Rein I, Haider HD (1993). Marketing Places: Attracting Investment, Industry, and Tourism to Cities, Regions and Nations. Free Press.

Kotler P, Asplund C, Rein I, Haider HD (1999). Marketing Places Europe: Attracting Investments, Industries and Visitors to European Cities, Communities, Regions and Nations. Prentice Hall.

Li H, Zhang X, Ng ST, et al. (2018). Social sustainability indicators of public construction megaprojects in China. Journal of Urban Planning and Development 144(4). doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)UP.1943-5444.0000472

Linares-García J, Vásquez-Santos K (2018). Smart cities: Are they materialization of sustainability or economic strategy of the neoliberal model? The Agora USB 18(2): 479–495. doi: 10.21500/16578031.3134

Lockwood M (2013). The political sustainability of climate policy: The case of the UK Climate Change Act. Global Environmental Change 23(5): 1339–1348. doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2013.07.001

Loftman P, Nevin B (1996). Going for growth: Prestige projects in three British cities. Urban Studies 33(6): 991–1019. doi: 10.1080/00420989650011708

Maclaren VM (1996). Urban sustainability reporting. Journal of the American Planning Association 62(2): 184–202. doi: 10.1080/01944369608975684

Madrid Nuevo Norte (n.d.). Available online: (accessed on 14 August 2023).

Mangla SK, Luthra S, Jakhar S, et al. (2020). A step to clean energy-Sustainability in energy system management in an emerging economy context. Journal of Cleaner Production 242: 118462. doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.118462

Martens ML, Marly MC (2016). Sustainability and success variables in the project management context: An expert panel. Project Management Journal 47(6): 24–43. doi: 10.1177/875697281604700603

Martínez VY, Villalejo GVM (2018). The integrated management of water resources: A necessity of these times. Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering 39(1): 58–72.

Mega V (1996). Our city, our future: Towards sustainable development in European cities. Environment and Urbanization 8(1): 133–154. doi: 10.1177/095624789600800111

Mendels FF (1972). Proto-industrialization the first phase of the industrialization process. The Journal of Economic History 32(1): 241–261. doi: 10.1017/S0022050700075495

Mensah J (2019). Sustainable development: Meaning history, principles, pillars, and implications for human action: Literature review. Cogent Social Sciences 5(1): 1653531. doi: 10.1080/23311886.2019.1653531

Metaxas T (2003). The image of the city as a ‘good’: The creation of a city’s promotional package through a strategic framework analysis of city marketing procedure. In: Beriatos E, Brebbia CA, Coccossis H, Kungolos AG (editors). Sustainable Planning and Development. WIT Press. pp. 427–438.

Metaxas T (2009). Place marketing, strategic planning and competitiveness: The case of Malta. European Planning Studies 17(9): 1357–1378. doi: 10.1080/09654310903053539

Metaxas T, Juarez L, Gavriilidis G (2021). Planning and marketing the city for sustainability: The Madrid Nuevo Norte project. Sustainability 13(4): 2094. doi: 10.3390/su13042094

Mitoula R, Papavasileiou A (2023). Mega infrastructure projects and their contribution to sustainable development: The case of the Athens Metro. Economic Change and Restructuring 56: 1943–1969. doi: 10.1007/s10644-023-09493-w

Mulligan PM, Horowitz AJ (1986). Expert panel method of forecasting land use impacts of highway projects. Transportation Research Record 1079: 9–15.

Mylonas C, Xenidis Y (2018). Megaproject development in the context of sustainable urban regeneration. International Journal of Real Estate & Land Planning 1: 377–384. doi: 10.26262/reland.v1i0.6499

Nair A, Nayar SK (2020). Key performance indicators of sustainability. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science 491: 012047. doi: 10.1088/1755-1315/491/1/012047

Oana I, Aroyo L, Eskevich M, et al. (2019). Validation methodology for expert-annotated datasets: Event annotation case study. In: Eskevich M, de Melo G, Christian F, et al. (editors). OpenAccess Series in Informatics, Proceedings of 2nd Conference on Language, Data and Knowledge (LDK 2019); 20–23 May 2019; Leipzig, Germany. Schloss Dagstuhl—Leibniz-Zentrum fuer Informatik. Volume 70. pp. 1–15.

Oreuta FD, Fainstein S (2009). The new mega projects: Genesis and impacts. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 33(1). doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2427.2009.00852.x

Perez SI, Perez SM, Navalpotro JA (2021). Madrid, Nuevo Norte, a project against Covid-19: Tourism as an opportunity. Cuadernos de Turismo 47: 595–598.

Ponzini D, Santangelo M (2018). Spatial strategies through land-use plans, urban projects and metropolitan visions: Twenty-five years of planning in Turin. Town Planning Review 89(3): 259–281.

Pulkkinen U, Simola K (2000). An Expert Panel Approach to Support Risk Informed Decision Making. Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority.

Purvis B, Mao Y, Robinson D (2019). Three pillars of sustainability: In search of conceptual origins. Sustainability Science 14: 681–695. doi: 10.1007/s11625-018-0627-5

Reckien D, Creutzig F, Fernandez B, et al. (2017). Climate change, equity and the sustainable development goals: An urban perspective. Environment and Urbanization 29(1): 159–182. doi: 10.1177/0956247816677778

Ren X (2008). Architecture and nation building in the age of globalization: Construction of the national stadium of Beijing for the 2008 Olympics. Journal of Urban Affairs 30(2): 175–190. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9906.2008.00386.x

Research/IT Desk (2020). Research guides at Carleton College. Available online: (accessed on 18 August 2023).

Rikkonen P, Kaivo‐oja J, Aakkula J (2006). Delphi expert panels in the scenario‐based strategic planning of agriculture. Foresight 8(1): 66–81. doi: 10.1108/14636680610647156

Roche M (2017). Mega-Events and Social Change: Spectacle, Legacy and Public Culture. Manchester University Press.

Rodriguez Suárez I, Hernández Aja A, Gómez Giménez JM, et al. (2021). The catalogs of vulnerable neighborhoods of Spain. Analysis of vulnerability in Spanish cities between 1991 and 2011. City and Territory Territorial Studies (CyTET) 53: 179–200.

Romero-Vargas M, Bermúdez-Rojas T, Duque-Gutiérrez M (2020). Qualitative evaluation of socio-environmental sustainability indicators for their selection and application in Costa Rican cities. Revista Geográfica de América Central 64: 1–25. doi: 10.15359/rgac.64-1.1

Ryu C, Kwon Y (2016). How do mega projects alter the city to be more sustainable? Spatial changes following the Seoul Cheonggyecheon restoration project in south Korea. Sustainability 8(11): 1178. doi: 10.3390/su8111178

Scipioni A, Mazzi A, Mason M, Manzardo A (2009). The dashboard of sustainability to measure the local urban sustainable development: The case study of Padua municipality. Ecological Indicators 9(2): 364–380. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2008.05.002

Scherrer W (2002). Information deficiencies in place marketing and the scope for public and private sector partnership: Evidence from the city of Salzburg. WIW Working Paper Series, No. 6. Universitat Salzburg.

Schindler S, Fadaee S, Brockington D (2019). Contemporary megaprojects. An introduction. Environment and Society: Advances in Research 10: 1–8. doi: 10.3167/ares.2019.100101

Shaker RR, Rybarczyk G, Brown C, et al. (2019). (Re)emphasizing urban infrastructure resilience via scoping review and content analysis. Urban Science 3(2): 44. doi: 10.3390/urbansci3020044

Shenhar A, Holzmann V (2017). The three secrets of megaproject success: Clear strategic vision, total alignment, and adapting to complexity. Project Management Journal 48(6): 29–46. doi: 10.1177/875697281704800604

Shore B, Cross BJ (2005). Exploring the role of national culture in the management of large-scale international science projects. International Journal of Project Management 23: 55–64. doi: 10.1016/j.ijproman.2004.05.009

Simon D, Arfvidsson H, Anand G, et al. (2016). Developing and testing the urban sustainable development goal’s targets and indicators—A five-city study. Environment and Urbanization 28(1): 49–63. doi: 10.1177/0956247815619865

Sklair L (2005). The transnational capitalist class and contemporary architecture in globalizing cities. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 29(3): 485–500. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2427.2005.00601.x

Song Y, Hou D, Zhang J, et al. (2018). Environmental and socioeconomic sustainability appraisal of contaminated land remediation strategies: A case study at a mega-site in China. Science of the Total Environment 610: 391–401. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.08.016

Spanish Urban Agenda (n.d.). Available online: (accessed on 18 August 2023).

Sroka R (2021). Mega-projects and mega-events: Evaluating Vancouver 2010 stadium and convention infrastructure. Journal of Sport & Tourism 25(3): 183–200. doi: 10.1080/14775085.2021.1881590

Stott L, Scoppetta A (2020). Partnerships for the goals: Beyond SDG 17. Revista DIECISIETE 2: 29–38. doi: 10.36852/2695-4427_2020_02.02

Sturup S, Low N (2019). Sustainable development and mega infrastructure: An overview of the issues. Journal of Mega Infrastructure & Sustainable Development 1(1): 8–26. doi: 10.1080/24724718.2019.1591744

Swyngedouw E, Kaïka M, Castro E (2002). Urban water: A political-ecology perspective. Built Environment 28(2): 124–137.

Thangaraj M, Sivakami M (2018). Text classification techniques: A literature review. Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge, and Management 13: 117–135. doi: 10.28945/4066

Thounaojam N, Laishram B (2021). Issues in promoting sustainability in mega infrastructure projects: A systematic review. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 65(8): 1349–1372. doi: 10.1080/09640568.2021.1941810

Tinoco RA, Sato CEY, Hasan R (2016). Responsible project management: Beyond the triple constraints. Journal of Modern Project Management 4(1): 81–92.

Tomàs Fornés M (2023). Metropolis without government. The Spanish anomaly in Europe. In: Martorell J, de Galba MJ (editors). The White Tyrant. The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Turcu C (2013). Re-thinking sustainability indicators: Local perspectives of urban sustainability. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 56(5): 695–719. doi: 10.1080/09640568.2012.698984

Vardopoulos I (2019). Critical sustainable development factors in the adaptive reuse of urban industrial buildings. A fuzzy DEMATEL approach. Sustainable Cities and Society 50: 101684. doi: 10.1016/j.scs.2019.101684

Vardopoulos I (2022). Industrial building adaptive reuse for museum. Factors affecting visitors’ perceptions of the sustainable urban development potential. Building and Environment 222: 109391. doi: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2022.109391

Vardopoulos I, Theodoropoulou E (2018). Does the new ‘FIX’ fit? Adaptive building reuse affecting local sustainable development: Preliminary results. In: Proceedings of The International Academic Forum (IAFOR) Conference on Heritage and the City (HCNY2018); 7–9 November 2018; New York, USA. pp. 997–114.

Ugwu O, Haupt T (2007). Key performance indicators and assessment methods for infrastructure sustainability—A south African construction industry perspective. Building and Environment 42: 665–680. doi: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2005.10.018

Wanamaker C (2018). The environmental, economic, and social components of sustainability: The three spheres of sustainability. Available online: (accessed on 14 August 2023).

Wang G, Wu P, Wu X, et al. (2020). Mapping global research on sustainability of megaproject management: A scientometric review. Journal of Cleaner Production 259: 120831. doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.120831

Ward EG, Skayannis P (2019). Mega transport projects and sustainable development: Lessons from a multi case study evaluation of international practice. Journal of Mega Infrastructure & Sustainable Development 1(1): 27–53. doi: 10.1080/24724718.2019.1623646

Washington SP, Lord D, Persaud BN (2009). Use of expert panels in highway safety: A critique. Transportation Research Record 2102(1): 101–107. doi: 10.3141/2102-13

The World Commission on Environment and Development—WCED (1987). Our Common Future. The World Commission on Environment and Development.

The World Bank (2023). Urban development overview. Available online: (accessed on 14 August 2023).

UNCHS-Habitat (2004). UN-Habitant self-assessment report. Available online: (accessed on 18 August 2023).

Wu G, Li H, Wu C, Hu Z (2020). How different strengths of ties impact project performance in megaprojects: The mediating role of trust. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business 13: 889–912. doi: 10.1108/IJMPB-09-2019-0220

Xing Y, Horner RMW, El-Haram MA, Bebbington J (2009). A framework model for assessing sustainability impacts of urban development. Accounting Forum 33: 209–224. doi: 10.1016/j.accfor.2008.09.003

York R, Bell SH (2019). Energy transitions or additions? Why a transition from fossil fuels requires more than the growth of renewable energy. Energy Research & Social Science 51: 40–43. doi: 10.1016/j.erss.2019.01.008

Zeković S, Maričić T (2022). Contemporary governance of urban mega-projects: A case study of the Belgrade waterfront. Territory, Politics, Governance 10(4): 527–548, doi: 10.1080/21622671.2020.1774410



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 Theodore Metaxas, Jaime S. Gallego, Laura Juarez

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

This site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.