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The plan as a colonization project: the medina of Tlemcen under French rule, 1842–1920


Year published: 2019
Categories: Journal Article

Author / Authors:

  • Amine Kasmi


In the nineteenth century, Algerian cities were the first medinas in the Arab world to be colonized by a European power. Tlemcen, a medieval medina involved in this historical event, was marked by a relentless struggle on the part of the French administration to transform it into a city conforming to modern standards. The antagonism between two urban systems – the ‘Islamic city’ and the modern city – takes a problematic form when confronted with urban interventions that had colonizing aims. This paper will argue that the plan of the colonial city introduced a new order, subjecting the medieval medina within a set/subset relationship. Through urban subordination, the French military–civil administration used the plan layout as an instrument to control and dominate the medina of Tlemcen. In order to verify this hypothesis, a thorough study of documents dating from the early years of the French occupation was undertaken; thus, this paper is constructed as an urban study, based on a historico-morphological approach.

Planning Perspectives, 34:1, 25-42, DOI: 10.1080/02665433.2017.1361335


  • Journal Article