Tafilalt in the Mzab Valley – Algeria. A sustainable urban project in arid environment

Abderrahmane Diafat, Said Madani


This paper aims to display a promising experience of designing a new community project based on the Mozabit old traditions to found their Ksour (plural of Ksar). The faith and “self-reliance” as ancient customs of the Mozabit society have led the Oases to survive in a hostile Saharan environment. Tafilalt project aims to respect the traditional architecture and values while creating architecture worthy of the sustainable development. The community in Bani Isguen city initiated the project in 1997, planning to create a new neighborhood for Bani Isguen ksar in order to alleviate the housing shortage in the Mzab Valley. The self-help, solidarity and collective work of this community allow low-income households to have access to affordable housing. The methodical approach fulfills a thorough analysis of the different steps concerning the process from the definition to the construction of such a collective project. This quite successful designed project tends to enhance the local urban environment and empower the community ties. A set of guidelines and recommendations are made in order to improve the design process and urban strategies of any alike coming projects.


Heritage, Tafilalt project, community, strategies, design

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