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Bertrand Mareschal

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« on: April 08, 2020, 04:36:43 PM »
Knowledge-based urban development and climate change in Morocco
The level of life quality of a region is the result of different and complex factors such as the quality of the environment, the quality and availability of services, the social equity, economic development …etc. Thus, developing a region and evaluating its performance is not an easy task. These factors are summarized in the concept of knowledge-based urban development (KBUD). The concept aims mainly to increasing the region’s competitively, the attraction of skilled human resources and investments, and more importantly support the region’s residents ameliorating their standards of living and welfare. In Morocco, urban development experienced several and significant changes over the past 50 years, which has had an unexpected impact on its social and spatial character. In addition to those “historical and sociopolitical” changes, the climate change constitutes a new factor that needs to be taken into consideration in mapping and conceiving the urban development of Moroccan cities. This paper mains at understanding the relationship between the urban and spatial development, the climate change and the quality of life of the local residents, in the case of Ourika Valley, Morocco. It aims to analyzing the process through which Ourika local population adapts land use and spatial morphological planning to face climate change, mainly flood and landslide hazards, and improve their quality of life. In recent decades, climate change appears to have accelerated globally. Therefore, it becomes necessary to question the reality of these changes, their causes, their future and their immediate and remote consequences on health, economy, ecosystems, land use and lifestyle. Due to its location, Morocco, as a Mediterranean country, is sensitive to current climate variability and future as well as climate change. However, in North Africa and according to the fourth IPCC report "Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change", a decrease in rainfall of up to 20% by the end of the century is expected and temperature is expected to reach an increase of 2.5 ° C to 5.5 ° C. Also, the combination of decreasing supply and strong population growth aggravates the stressed water situation in the region. Ourika watershed is located in the western center of Morocco, in the northwest of the high Atlas. It is characterized by dramatic topography, a variable and changing climate combined to a high human pressure. The main river has its source in the foothills of the High Atlas. The Ourika River has shaped its course by cutting crystalline rocks and sedimentary formations, carving deep valleys and steep slopes. It has specific geological, geographical and hydrological characteristics. The built environment is made of local materials and is characterized by a compact morphology. The human settlement, the site specificities and the local know how produced a specific architecture with a specific land use and relationship to landscape. Because of the specific hydrological, geological and geographical context, Ourika Watershed is very exposed to natural risks, such as flood and landslide. All this, combined to climate change and variability, produce a territory with a disadvantaged population that lives on sites unsuitable for housing construction, such as mountainsides, areas threatened by flooding, landslides or other risks related to weather. This caused the loss of human lives and economic losses. Climate change affects therefore the social, economic and environmental aspects of life in the valley. Therefore, this situation impacts not only the spatial planning and architectural development of the region, but also the level and life mode of the local people. One of the aspects that will be considered in this article is land use and housing security as a product of the territory and also of the local peoples’ aim to adapt and avoid the risks previously mentioned. This essay focuses on climate change and variability and their impact on local architecture and urban morphology as well as on local peoples’ way of life. Knowledge-based tools are used to analyze this impact. One of the main objectives is to propose practical recommendations’ about planning and architecture and provide critical signals of a significant turn of events in the planning process that policy makers or practitioners in the field ought to be able to apply in daily work.