Planning project in Ain Cheggag
Ilex and Ateliers Lion were asked to prepare a plan for the development of a new town in Ain Cheggag, in the agricultural plain between Fes and the Middle Atlas. What might be the motor of this development?
The potential of agrotourism
It was not a question of building an entirely new town, disconnected from the rest of the world, but of looking at the significance of urban development in the heart of an agricultural zone. The suggestion put forward by Ilex was to make this a destination for agrotourism. And the context is favourable. Stretching out from Fes, Morocco’s cultural and tourist centre, the Ain Cheggag plain has the potential to occupy the agricultural and environmental forefront of the region’s economic development and tourist industry, with a strong identity centred on farming and sustainable development.
The idea is to turn urban development into a project of « active nature », with urbanism and tourism being brought together to promote farming and related activities. And a hypothetical framework is provided by the area’s agricultural potential for production, processing, treatment, storage and exportation, notably with regard to organic products, botanical gardens and olives. This kind of « powerhouse » initiative could include the region as a whole, and increase its attractiveness.
The priority is to preserve and develop the existing agricultural activity, and the area’s remarkable landscapes. The « agropark » project is based on the principle of conservation. And a new, compact form of centrality is possible in the west, with increasingly responsible development in the east, and an « agropole » for exploration and experimentation, along with smaller-scale ventures: farms, hotels, discovery trails, etc.
An experimental project
In Ain Cheggag, the main issues are the rehabilitation of traditional agriculture and the development of sustainable tourism. The territorial profile is central, being both contemporary and rooted in a long tradition. This is a project with experimental, economic, ecological, cultural and social dimensions.