WIT Press

Urban Sustainability Challenges: Democracy And Spatial Injustices In Modern Tunisia


Free (open access)





Page Range

35 - 46




320 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


A. Mahmoud


In this paper, the author addresses spatial injustices in Tunisia, and seeks to understand to what extent social and territorial inequalities could hamper democracy. Indeed, urban disparities and social anomalies such as informal sector, terrorism, unemployment, and unsustainable development policymaking threaten vulnerable ongoing democratic processes in modern Tunisia.

The author described and analyzed the previous urban planning processes, which had been undertaken by the nation’s mono party state since independency. The top-down development policies implemented up until now in Tunisia entailed the deepening of the large gap between coastal and inland areas. In fact, the former benefitted from their location across the seashores, and their proximity to the central power and economic growth. However, the latter had been left behind due to their austere geographical neighbourhood (e.g. desert, drought, lack of livelihood…).

Urban disparities and social inequalities in Tunisia join in a networked society where local and global unfold in a globalized world of flows and nodes. Local societies are subsystems within a global neo-liberal capitalist system. Hence, the current social movements triggered in Tunisia are not cyclical. They are amongst global social networked movements. Terrorism, pollution, and inequalities are not per se, but they are the negative results of a myriad of factors: economic, politics, cultural, emotional, social, and urban morphologies syndromes.

Our method is theoretical drawing into literature review of documents (i.e. town planning documents, reviewed and un-reviewed papers on sustainability, democracy, territorial and social inequalities in Tunisia since independency. Data collected on the topic are worthy of the analyses but we tried to make sure of their credibility. Our objective is to demonstrate that without a sustainable urban governance development, democracy faces many hindrances and could be undermined in Tunisia.


challenges, democracy, injustices, space, sustainable, Tunisia