Ciudad Lineal was originally conceived as a progressive community. It was named after its city plan, the linear city—elongated and ordered into different zones (a railway zone, a green zone, a residential zone, and so on)—which was the brainchild of the 19th century Spanish architect Arturo Soria. Ciudad Lineal today is a quiet and relatively peaceful neighbourhood. The stately, tree-lined main thoroughfare Arturo Soria Avenue is now dominated by the Alcala Norte hotel complex.

It is not far from the Barajas airport. All other parts of Madrid are accessible from Ciudad Lineal by bus and underground.