Author Archive

December 24 2013

Farewell to The Grid, from Sarah Essbai

December 24th, 2013Posted by 

When I started as a blogger at The Grid, I was packing to go back to my home country of Morocco. I had spent two years in the United States as a Fulbright scholar at the graduate urban planning program of Ball State University. However, I also knew that shortly after my arrival to Morocco, […]

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December 10 2013

Noord-Zuidlijn in Amsterdam: Digging a Metro Line under the Historic City

December 10th, 2013Posted by 

For the last ten years, visitors of Amsterdam have been surprised at the sight of several open construction sites in the city’s historic center. Starting at Central Station, open construction sites are found throughout the city until the South/WTC railway station. The reality is that those multiple sites are all part of one big project: […]

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November 26 2013

The Challenges of a Dutch Inclusive Neighborhood

November 26th, 2013Posted by 

The Netherlands has one of the most unique affordable housing programs in Europe. Affordable housing, which roughly translates to social housing (Sociale Huurwoningen) represents nearly 80% of the Dutch rental housing units. This portion accounts for about 33% of the current total housing stock. Affordable housing in The Netherlands is considered a right rather than […]

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November 12 2013

IJburg, Amsterdam: Innovative Neighborhood on Artificial Islands

November 12th, 2013Posted by 

IJburg is one of the newest neighborhoods in Amsterdam. In this city of high density and scarce developable land, the creation of a new neighborhood is a long and expensive planning process. IJburg is a unique urban planning experiment that consisted of creating a neighborhood from scratch. The project came mainly to respond to a […]

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October 29 2013

Amsterdam-Noord: From an Abandoned Shipyard to Amsterdam’s Creative District

October 29th, 2013Posted by 

While waiting for the ferry at the wharf behind Amsterdam Central Station, the Eye Film Museum designed by the Viennese architectural firm Delugan Meissl Associated Architects stands with its futuristic design as a landmark on the IJ Lake northern shore. A fifteen minute ride on a free ferry took me along the shore, to what is […]

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October 15 2013

Rabat, Morocco: On A Quest to Become A World Class Capital or Elitist Capital?

October 15th, 2013Posted by 

Rabat is Morocco’s political capital. For most Moroccan citizens, Rabat is sooner or later a necessary stop due to its concentration of major administrative, health and educational facilities. The city also offers better employment and career development opportunities compared to other Moroccan cities. But since 2000, Rabat has wanted to be more than just Morocco’s […]

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October 01 2013

Morocco’s New Cities Program Lacks Basic Service Accessibility

October 1st, 2013Posted by 

In 2004, development work was launched in the first site, Tamansourt, nearby Marrakech, of Morocco’s “Villes Nouvelles” (New Cities) program. By 2020, the program aims to create 15 cities evolving around the major country’s urban centers to host a total of 1,150,000 residents. With an investment of over $12 billion, this program had opened 5,000 […]

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September 17 2013

Should Casablanca’s Colonial Heritage Be Preserved?

September 17th, 2013Posted by 

Casablanca is Morocco’s largest city; but unlike the rest of the country’s major cities that were founded between the seventh and fifteenth centuries, Casablanca’s history is quite recent. Casablanca was one of five new planned cities in Morocco after the establishment of the French protectorate in 1912. This political decision aimed at the creation of […]

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September 03 2013

Foreign Investment & Gentrification Offer New Residents for Morocco’s Medinas

September 3rd, 2013Posted by 

Gentrification has become increasingly prevalent in most major metropolitan areas across the globe and affects mainly old and historic urban zones. In Morocco, gentrification can be observed in the historic centers (like Medina’s) of the kingdom’s main cities. However, its evolution and impact are as special as the environment where it takes place. Gentrification in […]

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August 20 2013

Revitalization of the Fez River: A Reclaimed Public Space

August 20th, 2013Posted by 

Founded in 789, Fez is the third largest city of Morocco. Its historic center, the Medina, is a unique urban structure that features passive architecture, unique urban landscapes, and one of the biggest pedestrian networks in the world. But the Medina, listed as a world heritage site by the UNESCO in 1981, is facing several […]

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August 06 2013

Cardinal Greenways: Biking on Muncie’s Rail-Trails

August 6th, 2013Posted by 

Biking has been mainly promoted in the past ten years as a healthy transportation alternative in major American metropolitan cities. In smaller communities though, biking remains mainly recreational. In addition to the health benefits of urban biking, it also provides the opportunity to interact with nature and wildlife along trails. In 2012, Muncie, Indiana developed […]

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July 23 2013

Student-Oriented Developments on the Rise in Muncie

July 23rd, 2013Posted by 

Every fall Muncie, Indiana grows its population by almost 30%. This addition represents the 20,000 students enrolled at Ball State University in Muncie, many of whom close new housing contracts or renew old ones on- and off-campus. The university alone runs twenty-nine residence halls and 533 apartments, hosting almost 45% of on-campus students with its […]

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July 09 2013

The Infamity of Muncie, America’s Forgotten Middletown

July 9th, 2013Posted by 

In 1924, Muncie, a small city 60 miles north-east of Indianapolis in Indiana, was the subject of a socio-economic research conducted by Robert and Helen Lynd. In 1929, the Lynd’s published the results of their study in “Middletown: A Study in Modern American Culture,” a book that will set this small industrial community as a […]

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