Integrated and sustainable development of the Bouregreg Valley
In order to allow the creation of a new space for living, working and recreation at the heart of the Rabat-Salé-Témara metropolitan area, the Moroccan authorities launched in 2006 a vast project for the development of the Valley of the Bouregreg River.
Based on an integrated urban development model, this creation of an eco-city in harmony with the heritage and environment of the site, is supported by the Urban Projects Finance Initiative – UPFI.
With 2 million inhabitants, Rabat-Salé-Témara is the second most important urban area in Morocco, both in size and economic importance, as well as the political centre of Morocco, home to Rabat, the capital of the Kingdom. The metropolitan area is divided by the Valley of the Bouregreg River.
The issue of the preservation of agricultural land and heritage, and of sustainable development in the Bouregreg Valley has been the subject of a long-term reflection by Moroccan stakeholders. This is illustrated in particular by the vast rehabilitation programme in 2005 of the Oujla landfill site in order to minimise the environmental impacts of waste collection and treatment activities at this landfill in the Bouregreg Valley.
The Moroccan authorities wish to go further in this aim of sustainable urban development with the project for the development of the Bouregreg Valley. The Bouregreg Valley Development Agency (AAVB), a public state institution, was created in 2006 specifically to carry out this development project and to implement an intervention policy based on four key objectives:
Covering a total area of approximately 6,000 hectares, the Bouregreg Valley development project aims to rehabilitate the banks of the Bouregreg River in order to offer a pleasant living environment for the inhabitants of Rabat and Salé. This symbolically charged project is of national interest, aiming to achieve a global urban development action that is integrated and based on sustainable development.
This vast integrated urban development project is based on the creation of new urban spaces, while preserving the history and environment of the site, upgrading access and transport infrastructure, creating cultural facilities, and the installation of various hydraulic installations. It aims to include many housing units and business premises, with the aim of making the Bouregreg Valley a living area in its own right and not merely a transit area. This project opens up a new space for urbanisation and will provide urban continuity between the three cities of Rabat, Salé and Temara, with a focus on fluidity and functional efficiency.
In a Special Development Plan adopted in 2009, the AAVB divided this ambitious urban project into six zones for the development of mixed-use urban areas:
In support of these developments, road infrastructure works have been launched in order to ensure access and connections adapted to the new facilities and mixed-use neighbourhoods in the Bouregreg Valley.
The development of zones 1, Bab Al Bahr, and 2, Al Saha Al Kabira, the neighbourhoods closest to the mouth of the Bouregreg River, is already underway, notably through the mobilisation of private investors.
Zone 3, representing nearly 2,280 hectares of the total 6,000 hectares of the project, is central to this development project. As such, this component of the project aims to be a model in terms of architecture and urban planning, sustainable development and balanced urban programming. To this end, and through this operation that is symbolic in more ways than one, the AAVB is seeking to give life to an avant-garde vision by creating a new multipurpose living environment allowing residents to live, work, and access entertainment and culture at the heart of the new green lung of the metropolitan area.
The project’s vision of creating a benchmark eco-city in Morocco saw zone 3 of the project rewarded with labelling from the UfM and its 43 members states.
Zone 3 of the Bouregreg Valley development project is one of the UPFI schemes identified in phase 1. This component entered into UPFI’s preparation phase 2 in autumn 2016. A technical assistance and planning study assignment with AAVB began in September 2016. Steered jointly by AFD and the EIB, this technical assitance supported AAVB in the preparation and operational set-up of Zone 3 of the Bouregreg Valley development project up to June 2017.