To improve living conditions and touristic potential through the amelioration of built heritage

Figuig is a pre-saharian oasis which has been undergoing for several years the negative effectsof its frontier position. The political instability and the socio-economical problems boundto the closure of the frontiers between Morocco and Algeria have limited the possibility ofcommercial and touristic activities, while favoring the flux of clandestine goods that stronglycompete with both local products and legally imported ones.

Although the region has a high potential due to natural resources, richness of landscapesand biodiversity; although the strategic position could favor relations of vicinity with bothMediterranean and Saharan territories, Figuig has been unable in recent times to play anyrelevant role in the national economy.

The city is characterized by a specific spatial arrangement made of an interwoven constellationof seven separate Ksurs (neighborhoods), each linked to one or several palm-groves. Thisspatial and cultural structure is now disappearing due to the abandonment of the historicalcenters and to the construction of new dispersed settlements around them. Most important,the ungoverned expansion of settlements is causing a great amount of urban managementproblems, mainly consisting in the lack of infrastructural links and in the uneven distributionof public services and welfare provisions.

Given such a problematic background, AfricaâÂÂ70 elaborated a rehabilitation project on thehistorical heritage of the oasis in conjunction with several local associations, pursuing theamelioration of the living conditions of FiguigâÂÂs inhabitants through a number of initiativesaddressing the poor conditions of its built environment.

The role of ASF-Italia | The final objective of ASF-IâÂÂs work is to trace a methodological pathon how to elaborate the strategic plans that are necessary for a sustainable governance ofFiguigâÂÂs territory. The first on-field investigation was conducted in October 2005, aimed toshed light on the recent evolution of FiguigâÂÂs urban fabric. Relief maps were drawn on eachKsur, highlighting the numerous factors that contribute to their specificity and the mostevident problems in the state of conservation of the buildings and the urban fabrics, togetherwith problems generated by the casual introduction of inappropriate building techniques.

Short term perspectives | A few pilot construction-sites will start, aimed to restore some keybuildings in cooperation with local manufacturers. The objective is to enable local craftmento independently restore, transform and maintain the built heritage of the oasis by freelyresorting to a variety of appropriate construction methods.

Project Date: 2003





ASF International Member Organization: 

Architettura Senza Frontiere Italian Network

Associate Members: 



Municipality of Figuig

MoulaySlimane Foundation



Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Activity Type: 

Architectural Project