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New towns: the dilemma of newness and Genius Loci. The case of Bouinan, Algeria


Year published: 2021
Categories: Journal Article

Author / Authors:

  • Mustapha Ben-Hamouche


Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability, DOI: 10.1080/17549175.2021.1995026


Newness, or building from scratch, has long been considered as the mantra of the New Towns. Most early New Towns were built on Ex-nihilo sites. That provides the state of mental and physical blankness - best known as tabula rasa - that modern planning favours. It is only after generations that relying on pre-existing nucleus is realised to be an alternative that helps to achieve place-making and promotes Genius Loci. The paper first presents a contribution to this alternative approach, encapsulates its philosophy and turns it into a working tool. It then discusses the process of its deployment. Bouinan New Town, (Algeria), provides a raw example of a New Town on which the approach was applied. It discusses the potentials and limits of the approach through its three parameters that are Man, Space, and Time, and resolving the dilemma between Genius Loci and Newness. Results and findings aim at fine-tuning the next New Towns generation that is envisaged in the 2030 Vision Plan and enrich the New Towns world literature in countries having similar conditions.


  • Journal Article