chapter  5
15 Pages

Urbanization and Development

The Role of the Medina in the Maghreb
WithJean-François Troin

This chapter explains the main characteristics and activities of the medinas in the Maghreb and indicates various attempts made for their preservation and/or redevelopment. It shows that planning policies and planning projects in the Maghreb area are aimed at the development of new urban districts, the enlarging of the central business district, and the location of industrial estates. Young architects and anthropologists and a number of historians and geographers have drawn attention to the importance of this urban heritage. Workshops, handicraft fondouqs, or flats and small factories make up the medina’s urban tissues. High prices for housing and urban land drive city dwellers out of the medina. The immobility of the urbanistic frame contrasts with the numerous movements or turbulences inside and outside the medina. The importance of the medina is best understood in Tunisia. Tunisia is an old urbanized country, and its urbanity is a traditional quality among the townspeople.