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last updated: October 5, 2005


The city of Madrid, capital of Spain, has around 3 million inhabitants and spreads over 607 square kilometres. Several levels of government are established, from the local government to the different Ministries of the nation. The city of Madrid is divided into 21 districts distributed around the city centre. Low-income families are predominant in the Southern part of Madrid while the North is characterised by expensive, high quality neighbourhoods only affordable by rich people.

During the 1950s and especially during the 1960s and 1970s, Madrid experienced a massive inflow of migrants. At the end of the 1970s, the critical situation of the periphery concerning not only social but also physical conditions of housing, claimed for public intervention. Between 1978 and 1990, Madrid transformed its south-east corner, where the lowest income groups lived, eradicating slum settlements which affected 28 areas with a total of 37,000 dwellings built for a population of around 150,000 people. Urban renewal of these areas was led fully by the neighbourhood movement.