“Wise Cities” in the Mediterranean?. Challenges of Urban Sustainability

“Wise Cities” in the Mediterranean? Challenges of Urban Sustainability

Publication date:
Eckart Woertz, Senior Research Fellow, CIDOB (ed.)

Cities are home to over half the world’s population, consume a majority of its resources and cause a large share of its waste. Cities are both a challenge for global sustainability and crucial for its solution. Their settlement density and networks of creativity provide the space and the ideas for improved resource management. Above all they epitomise the needs and aspirations of their citizens. They are spaces of longing and belonging with promises of social equitability, individual freedom and political participation.

Cities on the southern and northern shores of the Mediterranean are among the oldest in the world and can draw on rich traditions of architecture, urban development and municipal administration. Yet, there are fundamental differences between these cities. Mega-cities like Istanbul and Cairo grapple with different challenges than medium-sized cities along the Côte d’Azur that have higher per capita incomes and better infrastructure. Cities in the north of the Mediterranean also have stronger traditions of municipal self-governance and autonomy.

For all their differences, Mediterranean cities share some of today’s most common urban challenges, such as environmental degradation, gentrification and growing inequality, climate change, provision of services, mass urbanisation, migration, and the fourth industrial revolution, to name just a few. This book seeks to contribute to a necessary debate on the social and environmental sustainability of urban growth in the Mediterranean and beyond.

Publication content

Introduction: “Wise Cities” in the Mediterranean
Eckart Woertz

Wise Cities in the Mediterranean: Conceptual Framework and Cases
Josep M. Coll

Obsolete Romanticism and the Postmodern Transformation of Urban Cultures and Traditions in Mediterranean Medinas
Anton Escher and Marie Karner
Localising the Next Wise Cities in the Mediterranean: The Multilevel Challenges of MENA’s Emerging Urban Region
Borja M. Iglesias

“Wise Cities” in the Mediterranean? Challenges for Education and Integration
Wolfgang Schuster

Environmental and Urban Security Risks: The Looming Symbiotic Crises of the Mediterranean Rim Cities
James A. Russell

Energy Transition and Urban Governance in the Arab World
Eric Verdeil

How can Regional Cooperation in the Mediterranean Support Cities’ Energy Transition Efforts?
Olgu Okumus


Runaway Urbanisation in Tunis: Rethinking the Territorial Box of the Metropolis
Max Ajl

Mediterranean Cities and Vertical Farming: Fostering Sustainable Local Food Production and Building Neighbourhood Esprit de Corps
Joel L. Cuello

Informal Settlement Dwellers in Algeria: How Local Initiatives and Practices Contribute to Improving their Living Conditions
Farida Naceur and Fatiha Belmessous
Alexandria: Development Challenges of a Coastal Second City
Azza Sirry


Tourism, Place-Making and Urban Transformations in Barcelona and Beirut
Waleed Hazbun

The New Cairo Wastewater Treatment Plant (Egypt)
Miquel Rodríguez Planas

From Farm to Landfill: How Rome Tackles its Food Waste
Daniele Fattibene


Urban Sprawl and Politics in Saudi Arabia
Pascal Menoret

The Aftermath of a Masterplan for Kuwait: An Exploration of the Forces that Shape Kuwait City
Sharifah Alshalfan

Jeddah: A “Wise Old City” Facing the Challenges of Urban Requalification?
Elena Maestri

Sub-Saharan Africa’s Urban Transition
Julia Bello-Schünemann

ISBN: 978-84-92511-57-0