Fez, Morocco | Rehabilitation and Revitalization of the Historic Medina

Years Location Site Area Population Served Size Client(s)
1995-1998 Fez, Morocco Historical City 181,000 300 hectares Agence pour la Dedensification et la Réhabilitation
Sponsors Budget Team member(s)
The World Bank François Vigier, Mona Serageldin
  The historic Medina of Fez is listed as a Heritage of Mankind site.  It is one of 6 historic centers selected for pilot initiatives by UNESCO and The World Bank for collaboration and coordination of revitalization efforts among organizations involved in the conservation and development of historic cities.  Started in 1995, the team worked for five years with ADER-FES, the agency responsible for conservation of the medina, and with central and local authorities to prepare a rehabilitation strategy. Funded by The World Bank, the purpose of the study was to both revitalize the historic Medina and rehabilitate the non-monumental built environment. The strategy is built on an analysis of existing urban dynamics, solidly documented by field surveys, a complex task given the intricate historical fabric, the small size of properties and the complex structure of tenure and occupancy patterns. The energies and resources of residents were mobilized through:

  • Physical improvements in accessibility and services that enhanced development potentials;
  • Te alleviation of legislative and regulatory constraints that impede private investment;
  • Offering incentives and technical support to property owners and investors; and
  • Exploring modalities for the participation of the Awqaf authorities.

  • Special attention was given to integrating tenants and disadvantaged households in the improvement process.   The project funded focused on priority actions as catalysts for sustained improvement and pilot projects to demonstrate the feasibility and impacts of innovative approaches to rehabilitation in a historical center.

    Detailed studies focused on the development of methodological approaches for the quantification of important benefits and externalities of cultural heritage rehabilitation that are not fully captured in financial impact assessments. The impact of the revitalization of the cultural heritage on municipal finances and the local revenue structure was assessed.

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