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New Medinas: Towards Sustainable New Towns?

Interconnected Experiences Spanning the North and South Mediterranean

Edited By Pascaline Gaborit

Why a book on new towns? Simply put, new towns are special cases in terms of urban development and the organisation of space. They are challenging adventures, reflecting different surroundings and trends and bringing together in one place a whole host of political, structural and technical issues, and they require a vast array of expertise and a variety of sectors working together to take up a major challenge: creating a city from start to finish.
Such issues are relevant for the creation of new towns on both sides of the Mediterranean, whether in examining the recent history of this phenomenon or in looking towards the future. Exchanges between cities and between experts can therefore generate in-depth analysis and result in greatly improved practices which learn from the past. This book showcases the results of the New Medina project, a journey based on sharing and cooperation among cities and associations from different countries in the North and South of the Mediterranean region.

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Introduction

Extract

When space leads to continuity and memory reflects places, the city provides bearings. Thought1 Why write and speak on a topic as specific, technical, problematic, debated and difficult as new cities? Understood as cities created from scratch and ex nihilo based on a development plan, they serve to break away from historic cities that experience more organic, spontaneous and straightforward developments and transformations as well as complex and multifaceted growth that could well be compared to a slice of multi- layered “pastry”. New cities represent special cases in terms of urban development, with structured master plan, development and organisation projects for space. They are perilous adventures, striving to secure a special status at the suburban and peri-urban crossroads. These recent or brand new cities are also a reflection of different contexts and trends. They bring together a whole host of political, structural and technical issues in one place and call on a vast array of expertise all busily working together to take up an enormous challenge: creating cities from start to finish. Manufacturing these cities means developing space, including social areas, the environment and places for people to live together. “Space, for example a city neighbourhood, governs how its residents are grouped together, how they spread out, squeeze together or how they disperse and move around... As such, the fact of belonging to the city or to the countryside does not trigger the same consciousness among individuals of belonging to a group, due to changes in how social activities are...

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