Qualitatively analysing the corp of fonts and knowledge gathered in the ongoing of this research, SWOT framework seems ideal to assess Madrid Retiro’s settings on its urban planning effectiveness to promote social connections among adolescents. Stakeholder mapping instead, may picture the structure of power and social targets affected by those.

SWOT Analysis


  • Infrastructures. Socio-cultural centres already in use, extensive green spaces, or practicioning habits implemented by Hospital Niño Jesús in the use of surrounding urban places.
  • Information. well-structured scientific and statistical data offered by public organs.  
  • Rising interest. Media, scholars, investors and general public are more and more conscious of mental health crisis and opportunities.


  • Public power fragmentation. Really difficult to find a cohesive national-regional-local action plan, which undoubtedly translates into inefficacy when facing the mental health epidemic.
  • Rigid Urban Framework: Difficulty to overcome certain urban planning obstacles like divisorial pathways or coined areas without high cost investments.
  • Encouragement tools: Lack of encouraging material resources like public aids, investing social programs or platforms where adolescents may lean on to formally structure their projects and associations.


  • Perfect turning point. Overcoming frustration in a resilient way can translate sentiments of hopelessness into social capital’s potential for more creative and innovative group formations.
  • Geo-strategical position: Converging area to other more marginalised districts thanks to easy public transportation. Retiro District enjoys wonderful and rapid public transportation that might reduce some affecting variables on the way adolescents interact, like familiar purchaising power.
  • Space-institutional synergy: Retiro Park and Hospital Niño Jesús strategical alliance seem to work towards a the building of spaces respectful of mental health needings. Niño Jesús urban plan is a great example.


  • Rising tendencial danger: risk on life and life satisfaction due strong rising patters on mental health suffering among adolescents. Future comorbid disorders or subclinical symptoms might appear at the personal (e.g. suicide ideation, pathological disorders), familiar (e.g. parental-child distancing in a vicious cycle), labour (e.g. burnout, overwhelmeing, lack of creativity and innovation), and society levels (e.g. violent responses when government trust is lost).
  • Stakeholder’s conflicting interests: urban exploitation, economic returns or political battles are great pursued milestones, which may obscure mental health objectives as sometimes no short-term political-economic rewards are reached.
  • Silencing of the most affected and voiceless stakeholders due their lack of formal organisation and vulnerable position.

Stakeholder Mapping

Five identified actors have been identified somehow influenciable or affected in the promotion of spaces fostering social connections among adolescents.

Y Axis: Influence
X Axis: Interest
Legend: P.P. (Public Powers); U.P.A. (Urban Planning Actors); M.H.P. (Mental Health Professionals);
Scholars (specialised on relevant topics); AD (Corp of adolescents, either formally organised or not)

Public Powers: Defined homogeneously despite their administrative positional heterogeneity horizontally and vertically. Particularly those organs with health, urban planning and social implementation nature are considered in tandem with the political offices implicated. Their influence is really great since they have the legal tools to easily invest in pro-connective urban spaces with mental health prevention objectives. However, little interest is given as there has been identified obstructing conflicting interests and a considerable carence of cohesive actions.

Urban Planning Actors: Referred to the corpus of planners, architects and technical studios involved in the definition of urban spaces either from public services or from private corporations. X axis is assigned with a small relevance as no official standards are to be respected, making salient their economic targets. Instead, their influence is great when it comes to space definition, if, for instance, Social Capital theories or new urban planning voices were heard.

Mental Health Professionals. Their interest is evidently great, but somehow braked by a pro-palliative methodological approach to mental health action and their little evidences in an interest to preventive positive urban spaces. Regarding their influence, a mid-level point seems to be reasonable as they do not decide urban planning actions, but fierce initiatives has been exposed with the potential their programs might mean when influencing the conception of existing spaces. In a longer term, these practices might prove so effective to be considered as requisites to be respected in coming urban planning projects.

Scholars: Academics specialised in social connections as trans-diagnostic preventing measures in mental health, urban planning theories defending participatory decision making or theorists in Social Capital or Positive Psychology among others, appear to be genuinely interested in a more human, transversal and multi-responding approach as this paper’s object of study defends. The influence they have been given though, is small as they hold no power of action, but some is recognised under the belief these hypothesis will slowly be considered by the rest of stakeholders involved.

Adolescents. They are those who enjoy or suffer from the other stakeholder’s decision, added to their vulnerable position of psychological immaturity and rising suffering. Influence is recognised at his minimum because, despite the rising voicing on their mental health urgency, few formal institutions, associations or activities has been identinfied beyond informal ties. These, however existing, not only have no driving pathways materialise their ideas and needs, but tend sometimes to detrimental conducts under a misunderstood catharsis.

Space-profit ideas

Beyond this research’s methodological scope, it may be of use to inspire from other’s initiatives. These ones are loyal to social compromises while profiting urban spaces from diverse perspectives.

Ibasho cafe was born after 2011’s Japanese Earthquake eriged from an admirable reconstruction initiative and respecting the premises of Community Resilience. Social connections are gathered and fostered towards the objective of reconstructing societies and infrastructures in the onset of a disastrous event.

Scalo Playground is a reconditioned space that has transformed a previously quasi-abandoned area of the city in a vibrant centre where to gather with a strong age-oriented bias. It is a relatively new public concession to the private enterprise of Red Bull, fostering a public-private alliance. Core activities are nights of Spritz inside the enclosed area, young musical band concerts and most importantly, basketball tournaments.

Esplai Foundation Promotional Video 2021
Es plai Foundation website.

Based in Barcelona and other bases in Catalonia Region is one of many private initiatives under NGOs, Foundations or Association umbrellas that impulse engaging connections among adolescents. Exploring esplai’s experience could enlighten alike projects in Madrid.

Across many Francophone endroits, they have a long history in young inclusion. Their activities are held in various places, but the most typical one might be the prepared dedicated buildings from where they organise every activity.

Maison des Jeunes Association 2020.

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