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University of Portsmouth (2020)

Socially sustainable neighbourhoods in Algiers : the reinterpretation of El Houma as an alternative to neighbourhood models of globalisation

Khemri Mohamed Yazid

Titre : Socially sustainable neighbourhoods in Algiers : the reinterpretation of El Houma as an alternative to neighbourhood models of globalisation

Auteur : Khemri Mohamed Yazid

Université de soutenance : University of Portsmouth

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2020

Résumé partiel
At a time of uncontrolled urbanisation and globalisation, cities are rapidly expanding to accommodate the increasing number of people and infrastructures, often neglecting human scale and leaving little or no place for community life to thrive. This has been facilitated by the Modern Movement which has inspired mass housing and gated communities and caused spaces to be empty and lifeless. The determinist interpretation of the Modern Movement has impoverished the relationships with past urban spaces, which were based on traditions and social interactions, and promoted urban models that have often disrupted the local lifestyle, character and spirit of culturally rooted spaces. The city of Algiers represents a significant example of the clash between the Modern Movement and the organicity of urban spaces designed according to local socio-cultural values. Therefore, the present thesis aims to explore the potential contribution of El Houma to achieve socially sustainable neighbourhoods in Algiers, through studying the relationship between social behaviour and the built environment. El Houma is a term used in Algeria, and in the Maghreb, to indicate a neighbourhood or urban area characterised by the strong social sustainability and organic urban life that emerge from frequent and sustainable social use of the urban landscape. This thesis relies on understanding and reinterpreting the underlying principles of El Houma to inspire solutions to the shortcomings of current planning approaches that have led to lifeless urban spaces and social and spatial segregation within the city of Algiers. The current thesis follows a compilation style. Thus, in addition to the introduction and general conclusion, the thesis consists of five papers that explain and provide evidence of the complex and versatile nature of El Houma in regard to different dimensions and facets of the urban landscape, and its potential contribution to the resilience of neighbourhoods. The thesis will explore the symbiotic relationship between El Houma and sustainability, informality, urban resilience, inclusiveness, socio-cultural way of life and social behaviour, and architecture and urban forms.

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