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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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17 The Contradiction of New Medinas Pilot Projects, Complex Territories, and other Issues of Sustainability Pascaline GABORIT Director of the European New Town Platform/Pilot Cities, ENTP The history of the Mediterranean has not grown along the lines of the Imperial Empires. It is funda- mentally a network of Towns or rather of cities. The History of the Mediterranean is also the History of Mediterranean Cities.6 Introduction In the 20th century, one attempted solution to real, imaginary and perceived problems of large cities has been the construction of new urban areas, intended to redistribute population and activities from the main cities and reshape the territories. It is in this context that New Towns have been created. New Towns are usually understood as local authorities built from scratch following a master plan. This planned approach is opposed to organic growth when the towns develop and transform by themselves.7 New Towns have not appeared but have been built to answer to demo- graphic growth and urban pressure, to provide housing, areas for living and alleviate traffic congestion of larger neighbouring cities. In South- ern Mediterranean countries some new towns are even being designated in desert areas and are considered as technical challenges to conquer these territories for human settlements, with questions remaining on sustainability, quality of life for future inhabitants and feasibility of these projects in the long run. 6 Balbo, M. (ed.), Medinas 2030, Scénarios et stratégies, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2010, p. 26. 7 See: INTI definition of New Towns-ENTP definition,...

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