Keywords: Mediterranean cities, town planning, sustainable cities, urban development, sustainability, sustainable development
The Mediterranean urban development: a lesson of sustainability for the world
This paper aims at showing that contemporary city planners should look into Mediterranean cities. The authors go through different cities such as Toledo, Torino, Firenze, and Santorini, and demonstrate that these cites were conceived in symbiosis with their environment, long before the industrial revolution. They notably show that the form of these cities has been able to adapt to the passing of time and the appropriation by different civilisations, thus showing an incredible resiliency. The study of Mediterranean cities provides lessons of sustainability for three reasons at least. First, they have lasted more than 2,000 years adapting but keeping marks of each period of their history. Second, they were bearers of meaning for their inhabitants as individuals but also as communities, which is a fundamental concept if we want to answer the social preoccupation of sustainable cities. The target of the paper is thus to analyse how such cities have managed to integrate themselves into their bioclimatic settings while fulfilling their main political purpose (polis) and providing a high level of urban life.