The French Development Agency (AFD) has called upon INTA, knowing its knowledge of Mediterranean countries, to organize a workshop on Sustainable Cities of the Mediterranean. This international workshop was held on Wednesday, June 18 at the Library of Alexandria (Bibliotheca Alexandrina).
The INTA International Secretariat also supervised the work of 10 teams of Alexandrian researchers, in collaboration with the Library of Alexandria, providing technical assistance for the definition of 10 sustainable urban projects for the city of Alexandria.
The 10 projects, from which topics addressed all the issues of sustainable urban development of an existing and fast growing city dealt with:
- Urban mobility and deconcentration (BRT, development of the Mahmoudieh Canal, city gateways, new housing satellites districts)
- Institutional setup for implementation of projects (creation of a Development Agency for Alexandria)
- Valorization of under-utilized public spaces (Eastern Harbour, Airport Lake, Street Vendors in the city center)
- Urban Regeneration and Renewal (El Max Fishermen village, City centre rehabilitation, creative and cultural district in Minett el Bassal)
International experts and practitioners from Tunisia (Sfax), Morocco (Marrakech), Lebanon (Saida) and France as well as many people from Cairo, intervened to comment and discuss the various proposed projects.
The multiplicity of projects showed the absolute necessity to integrate them into a comprehensive masterplan that will have an integrated vision of development of the city and will make possible to prioritize some projects.
Besides that, to ensure an effective implementation of urban projects -in all contexts and particularly in the case of Alexandria-, it seems necessary to have a strong leadership that could be put into practice through an implementation tool that could support project management and ensure the operational and strategic vision of the urban projects.
A major challenge in Egypt is then to involve the private sector without whom none of the projects could be happening, but at the same time, ensuring public vision and the general interest of public policy.
Moreover, the ability of implementation and financing of projects (some of which are major urban projects) is not sufficient to be able to consider implementing all the projects at the same time. Then prioritizing those projects is ciritcal in order to work with the national authorities in charge of infrastructure and urban planning as well as to attract international financial institutions (IFI's) who might be interested in funding such projects.
AFD, working in Egypt for many years wants to continue to be involved in the definition of these projects in partnership with local and national authorities in order to contribute to the strategic choice of implementing some of the projects.
INTA, thanks to the collaboration with AFD, Bibliotheca Alexandrina and the Centre for Mediterranean Integration in Marseilles, had one more time the opportunity to exchange and discuss about integrated urban development in Mediterranean cities.
All the outcomes of these exchanges will be available soon for the Community of Competence TransMed to continue working on specific Mediterranean urban issues.