The Social Sustainability of Historic Centres in North Africa: Cases from Algiers, Tunis and Fez

By Djamel Boussaa.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 24, 2014 $US5.00

Historic cities in North Africa are struggling to survive in rapidly emerging global environments. While many significant historic centers and districts are often demolished to pave way for modern highrise buildings, others just die of neglect and dilapidation. This situation raises important questions. What should be the future of these historic centers? Will they be demolished to provide more space for more ambitious growth or can they be conserved and sustained for present and future generations?
Tensions over land use, changes in the nature of local economies, and the continued consumption of historic assets place considerable pressures on those distinctive values that make historic cities attractive places in which to visit, live, and work. Such pressures have brought into focus the extent to which sustainable development policies can participate in managing rapid change in historic cities. This paper explores some of the conceptual issues raised by the social sustainability / historic city discourse, and examines the degree to which sustainable development policy is emerging in the historic cities of North Africa. In order to place this discussion and debate in a real context, a number of cities will be explored in North Africa; respectively Algiers (Algeria), Tunis (Tunisia), and Fes (Morocco).

Keywords: Historic Centers,, Change,, Conservation,, Social Sustainability,, Globalization,, Algiers,, Tunis,, Fez.

The International Journal of Social Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp.69-83. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 24, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.643MB)).

Dr. Djamel Boussaa

Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar

After graduating with a Bachelor of architecture from the University of Algiers, Algeria in 1984, Djamel Boussaa was awarded a post-graduate scholarship to pursue his studies in the United Kingdom. He obtained his Master of Philosophy in architecture from the Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies, University of York in 1987. After practicing as an architect for one year in London, he returned to Algeria in 1988. He was appointed as an assistant professor of architecture at the Institute of Architecture, University of Blida and taught for 8 years. He joined UAE University's Department of Architecture Engineering in 1996 and taught for ten years before joining the University of Bahrain for three years. In addition to teaching, his main area of research includes issues related to conservation and development of the urban heritage in the Arab world. He finished his PhD studies in urban conservation in the Arab world from the University of Liverpool, UK in 2007. He has been an assistant professor at Qatar University's Department of Architecture and Urban Planning since 2009.