In the current context of resource scarcity, urban resilience should be related to the reduction of fossil fuels and mobility demand. Thus, urban areas should increase their capacity to meet population´s needs (employment, retail…) in closer proximity.
Both scholars and European institutions have developed the concept of “urban polycentricity” over the last decades. “Polycentricity” is commonly related to the balance of incoming mobility flows between different parts of urban areas. Less attention has been given to these flows distances and mobility requirements.
Thus, “polycentricity” can be redefined from the perspective of resilience. “Polycentricity for resilience” should be based on a higher proportion of short-distance flows (such as internal trips in districts or municipalities) within the urban area functional structure. Urban planning and policies should integrate this perspective to reduce mobility demand in urban areas.
The present research aims to analyze the evolution of Madrid Urban Area in recent decades according to the above mentioned definition of “polycentricity for resilience”. The source has been the Madrid Regional Travel Survey data for 1996, 2004 and 2014. The period under study represents the last phase of Madrid Urban Area configuration, which has grown from 4,8 to 6 million inhabitants between 1996 and 2014.
From these data, districts or municipalities functioning as “centers” or “subcenters” have been identified according to indicators as average distance covered, total mobility flows attracted, or internal travels generated. The evolution of Madrid Urban Area functional structure in last decades has been assessed from the perspective of resilience. Successful and unsuccessfull planning strategies have been identified, in order to define the main challenges to achieve more resilient and close proximity-based urban areas in the near future.