New Suburb Planned for Constantine

The city of Constantine in north-eastern Algeria lies on the banks of the Rhumel River around 80 km inland from the Mediterranean coast. It is Algeria’s third largest city, after Algiers and Oran, and is the commercial and cultural center, as well as the capital, of the Constantine Province. The city has changed hands, and names, many times since being established by the Phoenicians some time before 539 BC, and has continued to grow during its, often tumultuous, history. The development of Constantine continues in the 21st century with an entirely new suburb, named Bourouag, set to be constructed over the next few years.

Montreal-based architectural firm Lemay & Associés has taken on the task of designing and overseeing the construction of more than 3,000 homes, three mosques, six schools, two day-care centers and a sports complex on 40 hectares of land on the outskirts of Constantine. The new neighborhood will have the potential to accommodate 12,000 residents and will feature a mix of residential and commercial development, thereby opening up opportunities for people to live closer to where they work. In an interview reported in the Montreal Gazette, the CEO of the firm, Louis Lemay, noted that the challenge of the project is how to go about creating a city from nothing, while the firm’s chief creative officer Michel Lauzon revealed that they have been given creative freedom with the project.

The same architectural firm designed El-Menia, the new town in Constantine Province which will be built with the objective of reducing its carbon footprint as much as possible. Located around 430 km east of Algiers, El-Menia will be built on the plateau overlooking the ancient city of Constantine. In ancient times, the plateau was where enemy armies, including the Romans, would launch their attacks on the city. In the next few years this area will be transformed into a sustainable new city, with the flowing lines of Arabic calligraphy the inspiration behind its layout. Affordable public transport, including a cableway system, will enable residents to reach all amenities with ease – truly a futuristic city in an ancient setting.