Since the late 20th century major, European cities have exhibited large projects driven by neoliberal urban planning policies whose aim is to enhance their position on the global market. By locating these projects in central city areas, they also heighten and reinforce their privileged situation within the city as a whole, thus contributing to deepening the centre–periphery rift. The starting point for this study is the significance and scope of large projects in metropolitan cities’ urban planning agendas since the final decade of the 20th century. The aim of this article is to demonstrate the correlation between the various opposing conservative and progressive urban policies, and the projects put forward, for the city of Madrid. A study of documentary sources and the strategies deployed by public and private agents are interpreted in the light of a process during which the city has had a succession of alternating governments defending opposing urban development models. This analysis allows us to conclude that the predominant large-scale projects proposed under conservative policies have contributed to deepening the centre–periphery rift appreciated in the city.
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