Born in 1765 from a visionary act of rebalancing the territory: Essaouira, between a “rich” past and an “ecological” future

Sustainability Making sustainability one of the aspects of Essaouira’s development would make it possible to maintain the homogeneity of the city as a historically rich and touristically flourishing city. To achieve this, several projects are currently launched in the city while others are in the pipeline, such as the development of the cornice and the seawater desalination project. Overview of sustainable projects recently launched in the city of trade winds. Known for its winds, highly appreciated by water sports enthusiasts, Essaouira is a unique city due to its natural assets and its favorable climate for the development of high-level sports activities. It offers many interesting activities for tourists wishing to visit this jewel of the Moroccan Atlantic coast. In addition to places to visit, this port city also has a rich history based on the coexistence of different religions. Also renowned for its cultural events such as the Gnaoua Festival which started on June 22, 2023, Essaouira is a flagship city of Morocco’s architectural past. Currently, the city of trade winds is the subject of several projects aimed at increasing its attractiveness while respecting the environmental and historical aspects. To achieve this, sustainability remains an appropriate solution to ensure this balance. Among the projects in progress, we can cite the project to develop the cornice towards the road to Agadir or the seawater desalination project. A “new” cornice The city is working on the development of its cornice via the road to Agadir. This project covers an area of ​​11 hectares. It includes several projects, namely the creation of a play area for children, the development of a square and a fountain and the establishment of a cycle-pedestrian path as well as a car park. This program also aims to create a workout area with sports facilities and a skate-park area. And that’s not all. The city also plans to develop sports grounds in this area. The projected budget for this work, including the landscaping, is 14 million dirhams. Desalination of sea water During the last years, characterized by the succession of periods of drought and a continuous increase in the water needs required for the socio-economic development of the country, the conventional water resources have been subjected to strong pressure. . Among the solutions envisaged to preserve natural resources is the desalination of sea water. Essaouira is one of the cities concerned. In this regard, a study recently launched by ONEE is underway for the implementation of this project. The capacity of the future desalination plant is approximately 53 Mm3/year intended to meet drinking water and irrigation needs. Essaouira is also part of a study which was launched by the General Directorate of Hydraulics under the Ministry of Equipment and Water for the reuse of treated wastewater at the level of several centers (STEP) within the framework the implementation of the National Program for Drinking Water Supply and Irrigation 2020-2027, constituting the first phase of the draft National Water Plan 2020-2050. Indeed, the use of non-conventional water resources is a necessity to alleviate water stress. A preserved medina Essaouira wants to protect its historical heritage, especially its old medina. Because, let’s remember, it has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001. To do this, new technologies would be the perfect ally for monitoring historical heritage and decision support. In this sense, the Urban Agency of the city has planned as part of its 2023 action plan the production of an interactive 3D model for the medina of Essaouira and the development of an infogeographic system. “Indeed, three-dimensional modeling constitutes a powerful tool for the characterization of urban territories under high pressure and presents a decision support support for the actors of the governance system in order to ensure the understanding of the urban space and its to better analyze the impact of the various interventions on this urban fabric and in particular the medinas”, explains the Urban Agency of the city. Known as Mogador, the medina of Essaouira “is a unique and well-preserved example of the strongly European-inspired fortified port city of the mid-18th century, transposed into a North African context and in perfect harmony with the precepts of Arab-Muslim architecture and urbanism,” explains the Urban Agency. And to add: “These are the rare existing medinas whose organization has been planned upstream on the basis of an urban plan. It was originally thought of as a “new town” backed by an important international port on the Atlantic Ocean”. A small jump in history allows us to remember that the city was designed by Théodore Cornut, a French architect specializing in military fortifications and deeply influenced by the style of the military engineer Vauban in Saint-Malo, following an order made by the Alaouite Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah. “His work was continued by other engineer architects including Ahmed Laalaj. The birth of Essaouira had resulted from an intelligent reading of the world of the time and a visionary act of rebalancing the national territory”, explains the Urban Agency. To extend its historical past and keep this link with the past, Essaouira has several places that bear witness to its ancestral wealth. Moreover, it will soon have a city of arts and culture.