Scholarly article on topic 'Urban Sprawl Vs Urban Renewal: What Role for Town and Country Planning Instruments in Ensuring Sustainable Cities? Case of Algeria'

Urban Sprawl Vs Urban Renewal: What Role for Town and Country Planning Instruments in Ensuring Sustainable Cities? Case of Algeria Academic research paper on "Social and economic geography"

CC BY-NC-ND
0
0
Share paper
Academic journal
Procedia Engineering
OECD Field of science
Keywords
{"Urban Sprawl" / "Urban Renewal" / Sustainability / "Town and Country Planning" / Instruments}

Abstract of research paper on Social and economic geography, author of scientific article — Khalil Farid

Abstract It is currently admitted that developping countries (in particular those of Africa) are witnessing an unprecedented movement of concentration (populations and activities) in urban zones. Although the tendency for population gathering is secular, this movement surprises at the same time by its scale and its rate: the cities have reached dimensions never equalized before while the rhythm of concentration continue to accelerate. The quality of life and the local ecosystems are the first to suffer. This situation has been accompanied by some acute problems like a forte consumption of space and misuse of natural resources. Actually, and with the new researchs that have been conducted within the last decade, it has been proven that the idea of city is contradictory with dispersion. The current tendency stresses the concept of ‘compacte city’. This concept refers ineluctably to the notion of urban renewal which points up as a primary objective to ‘rebuild the city on the city’. This urban policy comes exactly to stand against two logics: the non-controlled expansion of the cities and the deepening of social inequalities within a spatial segregation. It also stands as a new model for the development of the city aiming at saving space and energy, regenerating the degraded urban territories and increasing social diversity. In Algeria, it seems that the urban situation of big cities (especially those occupying the coastal fringe of the country) obeys to the same criteria that are enumerated above: flagrant concentration of people and activities, limitless sprawl of agglomerations invading whole agricultural zones, exhaustion and bad exploitation of natural resources… etc. This paper focuses on the impact that the newly launched instruments of town and country planning in Algeria will perhaps have to adjust a critical urban situation. It also emphasises on the role they must play to allow the emergence of real sustainable cities with regard to protecting the environemet and natural resources.

Academic research paper on topic "Urban Sprawl Vs Urban Renewal: What Role for Town and Country Planning Instruments in Ensuring Sustainable Cities? Case of Algeria"

Available online at www.sciencedirect.com

SciVerse ScíenceDírect

ProcediaEngineering21 (201 1) 760 - 766

Procedia Engineering

www.elsevier.com/locate/procedia

2011 International Conference on Green Buildings and Sustainable Cities

Urban sprawl Vs urban renewal: What role for Town and Country planning instruments in ensuring sustainable cities?

Case of Algeria

KHALIL Farida*

a Architecture and Environment Laboratory, Polytechnic School of Architecture and Urbanism, Po Box 177, Route de Beaulieu, El-

Harrach, Algiers, Algeria

Abstract

It is currently admitted that developping countries (in particular those of Africa) are witnessing an unprecedented movement of concentration (populations and activities) in urban zones. Although the tendency for population gathering is secular, this movement surprises at the same time by its scale and its rate: the cities have reached dimensions never equalized before while the rhythm of concentration continue to accelerate. The quality of life and the local ecosystems are the first to suffer. This situation has been accompanied by some acute problems like a forte consumption of space and misuse of natural resources.

Actually, and with the new researchs that have been conducted within the last decade, it has been proven that the idea of city is contradictory with dispersion. The current tendency stresses the concept of 'compacte city'. This concept refers ineluctably to the notion of urban renewal which points up as a primary objective to 'rebuild the city on the city'. This urban policy comes exactly to stand against two logics: the non-controlled expansion of the cities and the deepening of social inequalities within a spatial segregation. It also stands as a new model for the development of the city aiming at saving space and energy, regenerating the degraded urban territories and increasing social diversity.

In Algeria, it seems that the urban situation of big cities (especially those occupying the coastal fringe of the country) obeys to the same criteria that are enumerated above: flagrant concentration of people and activities, limitless sprawl of agglomerations invading whole agricultural zones, exhaustion and bad exploitation of natural resources... etc. This paper focuses on the impact that the newly launched instruments of town and country planning in Algeria will perhaps have to adjust a critical urban situation. It also emphasises on the role they must play to allow the emergence of real sustainable cities with regard to protecting the environemet and natural resources.

© 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of APAAS

* Corresponding author. Tal.: +213-661-687-6)4. E-mail addresses: fpridkhalildz@yphoo.fr

1877-7058 © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/j.proeng.2011.11.2075

KHALILFarid/Procedia Engineering 21 (2011) 760 - 766 Keywords: Urban Sprawl, Urban Renewal, Sustainability, Town and Country Planning, Instruments

1. Introduction

1.1. The diffuse city: Naming the contemporary Urbain Sprawl

Town planning and regional planning were marked these last twenty years by the emergence of a new concern for Urban Sprawl. Although this phenomenon is not recent, certain facts are specific all the same to the contemporary period:

• The appearance of new centralities to the periphery of the city where companies settle near airports and motorway's interchanges;

• The important increase of individual mobility and that of the great distribution: formerly seen as additional activities, displacements and shopping become central in everyday life;

• The loss of inhabitants in big cities and the sprawling, as far as the most rural and mountain places, of the suburban habitat, contributing to blur more and more the clean identity of rural areas.

For the specialists, beyond the facts, the reports are accompanied by feelings of frustration and resignation. Since the sixties, regional planning policies have given priority to land economy and to activities concentration principles in well defined and delimited centers. The figure of the compact city inspired by the representations of the Middle Ages cities and valued by postmoderne urbanism, served then as an ideal image. Within sight of the contemporary landscape where transition spaces become increasingly significant and the countryside is less and less distinguished from the city, it is the very approch of the development; which is seen like faulty: it was supposed to prevent the evolution which took place [1].

1.2. Is Urban Renewal the alternative to urban Sprawl?

Etymologically, Urbain Renewal, following the example of Urban Renovation or Urban Reconstruction, induces a simple replacement of urban elements by other similar ones. This well known process is designated by quite various terms: mending, recycling, regeneration, remodelling, changing, redevelopment, "city on the city"... Claude Chaline speaks even about an "urbanism of transformation" which would be opposed to an "urbanism of creation and that of peripheral expansion".

However, this modification process is, as every one knows it, very old in cities, complex organisms in permanent evolution. It has for long concerned the replacement of a physical part of the city by something similar, realizing thus a morphological renewal process before being a social renewal process.

In term of action on the city, Urban Renewal is not a novelty: the redevelopment of the city on the city is a "natural" phenomenon on the long term which always takes place in the constitution of the city. Therefore, the concept does not apply only to the districts of the City's Policy but also concernes the old city's districts.

However, the innovation of Urban Renewal lies mainly in the necessary passage beside an urbanism of expansion to an urbanism of transformation and management. Today, it is not any more a question of "creating a city" but of modifying and managing already urbanized territories, raising sometimes serious difficulties, with the need for devoting a broad place to the economic and social issues (urban management of proximity, education etc) creating the conditions of change. This can only be acheived through a global policy which takes into consideration the interdependence between the series of town and country planning instrumentsm: from regional to local territories.

Algeria, as part of the developing countries, is facing huge problems of urbanization and management.

Through the next part, we will focus on some of these problems mainly those related to the imblance caused by the unfair distrubution of the population between the North and the South of the country.

1.3. Th/ urban situation in Algeria

In Algeria, contrast is large between the important cities of the country, which concentrate activities, labour, infrastructures and structuring facilitiest, on one hand, and their back-countries, which remains devitalized and poor, on the other hand. This contrast has increased, these last years, under the double constraint of insecurity and the generalized pauperization of the country-side. The result is that our towns, from their many dysfunctions, offer a built environment in an urban space, in a total disorder that neither the instruments of legal, lawful and technical nature, nor the actions of construction and development could eliminate.

Another negative aspect: that of the strong concentration which is obvious qnd clearly seen in the Northern part of the country: The 2/3 of the Algerian population live in the so called 'tellienne' fringe, a hundred towns, ten ports and the greatest industrial complexes are established there (Figures 1 and 2); which generates strong chemical and organic pollution, poured directly and often without treatment in the sea, causing thus significant damage to the halieutic resources and the pollution of the touristic resorts, which reduces considerably the awaited economic advantages.

MANUFACTURING

H POWSr 5l»]J0n

Fig.1. Econimic activities in Algeria (Source : Geographical Atlas, 2007)

Algerian littoral space has also great potentialities: water, ground (37 % of the national potential), forests (32 % of the surface of the littoral), halieutics, mining and touristic, and finally large areas of ecological interest. These resources are threatened by a soaring demography and an anarchic urbanization which is the cause of serious environmental degradation (pollution, erosion, deterioration of the quality of life). Therefor, anarchic urbanization, the deficiency in urban management and the lack of interest for environmental problems, are at the origin of serious attacks to the environment which the country is expereincing.

Fig.2. Population distribution over the territory (Source : Geographical Atlas, 2007) 2. Planning and urbain renewal

2.1. Urban renewal Instruments

Urban renewal is incontestably one of the principal concerns that marked the overhaul of town planning. In this respect, the new vision preached by the authorities and which consists in integrating the concept of urban renewal in a global vision seems to be the panacea. The promulgation of the regional planning law in coordination with panoply of texts of regulation to manage the urban areas in a prospective and hierarchical approach can only be salutary for the future of our cities.

In term of regional planning, the concept of Urban Renewal is thought like a conceptual break in the way of planning and developing the city according to sustainable development objectives, that is to say:

• Economic effectiveness

• Social equity

• Environmental protection.

All this should be accompanied by:

• A strategic planning, in opposition to a simple physical soil planning

• And of a consistency of the various sectoral policies (Urban Displacements Plan, Commercial Facilities scheme...., etc).

In Algeria, the revival of the country planning policy through an instrument called SNAT by the horizon of 2025 (after that of 1987) which will be supported by regional plans called SRAT could only be beneficial.

2.2. Th/ impl/m/ntation of th/ SNAT2025

The great actions retained for this countryl planning which is the SNAT 2025 are implemented through the identified Territorial Action plans and covering four guidelines:

• The sustainability of our strategic resources: water resource, conservation of the grounds and the fight against desertification, ecosystems, major risks and cultural heritage;

• The Braking of the coastal development and the balance of the coastal area, the Option "High lands", the Option "Development of the South", relocation of the activities and administrative devolution, a hierarchic and well articulated urban system, the launching of new towns and competitiveness clusters;

• The attractivity and the competitiveness of the territory by the modernization and the networking of public works infrastructures, the transport infrastructures, logistics and communication, the international position of the four major cities Algiers, Oran, Constantine, Annaba;

• Territorial social equity through urban renewal and urban policy, rural renewal, centrality of agriculture and revitalization of rural territories, adjusment and upgrading of areas with handicaps.

2.3. Th/ impl/m/ntation at a local seal/: th/ Ar/a-Programs

Beside the (19) Sectoral Master Schems being finalized by the concerned ministerial departments, the concretization of the SNAT will be supported by the implementation at a space level, of nine (09) (SRAT) by 2025 covering Area-Programs prescribed by the law: North Center, North-west, North-east, High lands Center, High lands-West, High land -East, South-west, South-east and Great South and also by four Master schems for the developement of Metropolitan areas (SDAAM) by the horizon 2025 which are Algiers, Oran, Annaba and Constantine.

2.4. Cont/nt and obj/ctiv/s of th/ SRAT

The Regional Schem for Town and Country planning states in its content, in conformity with the National Schem, specific orientations and regulations to each Area-Program.

2.5. Th/ Mast/r Sch/m for Costal Dcv/lopm/nt (SDAL(

The advent of a law (n° 02-02 on February 5th, 2002) relating to the protection and the valorization of costal areas marks a political takeover of the challenges posed by the coast was abondened for a long time. Within this framework, coastal development plans (PAC) are established for all the littoral districts.

2.6. Wilaya D/v/lopm/nt Plans (PAW)

The Wilaya (Department) Development Plans (PAW) specify and develop, in conformity with the concerned Regional Schem for Town and Country planning, specific regulations to each territory of Wilaya.

2.7. According to the SNLT 2225

2.7.1. The City's Policy and urban renewal [2]

The Algerian city must be qualitative, competitive, attractive and durable, able to meet the needs of its inhabitants, the changes that the city is going through, and contribute to the valuation of cultural and urban identities. These objectives can only be achieved through:

• Urban regeneration, quality of urbanism and architecture, quality of green spaces and that of the cultural heritage;

• Safety, quality of public services: water, waste, education, health...

• The development by the promotion of the productive systems, the activities and employment

• Upgrading and preventing of the phenomena of exlusion and that of marginalisation from the city.

• The establishment of a metropolitan authority backed by regulatory instruments to spread throughout the urban spaces.

In the first phase, these actions will cover a range of cities over 100,000 inhabitants, including Algiers, Oran, Constantine, Annaba, on the basis of targeted criterion.

2.7.2. New Towns

Constitute a lever for loosening pressures around the major cities in the North, a lever of redeployment of settlements and activities towards the High lands and the South and finally a lever for rebalancing the urban network and its spatial organization.

The New Towns are implemented according to three distinct categories:

• New Towns of excellence to control the urban development in the Littoral and Tell: They contribute to a well organized development of the cities around the metropolitan areas.

• New Towns for rebalancing territories: They are conceived like business segments, services and settlement able to reverse the trends found repulsive and to foster a dynamic of attraction for the Highlands region.

• New Towns of support for sustainable development: They are created in order to answer ecological problems or industrial risks example the New Town of Hassi Messaoud in Southern part of the country.

3. Conclusion

These various actions constitute the translation of strategic objectives of the regional planning policy represented by the SNAT 2025 which tends to create the best economical development conditions, in regard to social equity and sustainability of our resources.

The national strategy for regional planning that the country has adopted in the beginning of this third Millenium finds its foundations in the political good-will that calls to register these actions in an approach based on citizen participation and sharing of responsibilities between various institutional, privates and assoiations at all levels.

The approch for sustainable development, introduced by the legislation since the beginning of the current decade, gradually imposes another vision of spatial planning: by treating the city as a living whole with its social, economic, environmental and urban aspects: it is no longer limited only to the design division of urban functions, mode of land use and demarcation of expansion zones , but starts to consider urban development as a combination of the various fields which should be thought in a systemic process.

References

[1] Christian Schubarth, IC Infraconsult SA, Bern. Article published in: GEA 2007;22. Bellinzona: GEA/Associazione dei geografi; Aprile 2007. http://www.gea-ticino.ch/

[2] Ministry for the Tourism and Environment, regional planning. Th/ S/tting in o/ uvr/ of th/ National Diagram Of r/gional planning (SNAT( 2025;Summary February 2008.