As an urbanist I love travelling, but I got bored with European cities which started to look alike. Instead I began travelling through North Africa, and discovered great urban design practices that I think don't get enough credit. A thread on North African🇲🇦🇩🇿🇹🇳🇱🇾🇪🇬 cities:
Colonnades - like this one in front of the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca - are a great urban element added to public plazas that provide shade in the summer, as well defining the boundary of the space and adding to its aesthetics. #Morocco 🇲🇦
Pedestrian bridges are useful infrastructural elements that link districts in a mountainous city. Constantine is a great example of how bridges add character and connectivity to an urban area. #Algeria 🇩🇿
The medina quarter in North African cities are places of narrow streets for protection from the sun, mixed-use buildings and high density. My favorite medina is the one in Hammamet, which is just along the coast and has some awesome graffiti art. #Tunisia 🇹🇳
Terminating vistas are a great way to end the view of a street, and can be seen around Tripoli's old city, like this one with the minaret of the Islamic Call mosque (located in the thematically named Algeria Square). #Libya 🇱🇾
Organizing cities around a central axis is an old planning technique. Many historic landmarks and souqs of Cairo were organized around Al-Muizz Street, which acted as the main axis of the old city. #Egypt 🇪🇬
Courtyard houses are great forms of sustainable architecture, allowing passive cooling, ventilation and lighting, while also maintaining privacy. Dar Bengacem in the medina of Tunis is a beautiful example. #Tunisia 🇹🇳
Public plazas aren't just open spaces but are often embedded with urban identity and meaning. The plaza of the tree in Benghazi symbolizes dissent and hope, and was one of the first to be renovated after the war. #Libya 🇱🇾
Another reason why I love the old centers in North African cities is that the narrow streets are not big enough for cars to use, allowing citizens to take advantage of the space, like the cafes and stalls in Khan El-Khalili market in Cairo. #Egypt 🇪🇬
Most North African cities are on the coast, and usually have a seaside promenade called a corniche. Because Constantine is in the mountains, they have a 'corniche in the air', with a view arguably as good as the Mediterranean. #Algeria 🇩🇿
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