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Tunisia Urban Housing Sector Profile

Tunisia Urban Housing Sector Profile

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The Tunisia Urban Housing Sector Profile is a comprehensive in-depth analysis of the urban housing sector, focussing on its strengths and weaknesses. The Profile contributes to the creation of a framework that enables provision of adequate housing for all. It builds a comprehensive understanding of the functioning of the urban housing sector that can serve as authoritative reference for all actors in the housing sector. It provides a series of recommendations for policy design and to the key stakeholders in the housing delivery system, including prioritized actions necessary for its improvement.

The Tunisia Urban Housing Sector Profile is a comprehensive in-depth analysis of the urban housing sector, focussing on its strengths and weaknesses. The Profile contributes to the creation of a framework that enables provision of adequate housing for all. It builds a comprehensive understanding of the functioning of the urban housing sector that can serve as authoritative reference for all actors in the housing sector. It provides a series of recommendations for policy design and to the key stakeholders in the housing delivery system, including prioritized actions necessary for its improvement.

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08/30/2014

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Tunisia is fortunate in that it has significant
capacities to carry out research and studies on
aspects of the housing and urban development
sectors and also to monitor housing market
behaviour. In this Tunisia is ahead of almost all
MENA region countries.

The Greater Tunis Development Agency (AUGT,
Agence d’Urbanisme du Grand Tunis) was
established in 1995 to develop urban studies,
to monitor urban development, and to develop
intervention plans for Greater Tunis as well as other
urban centers. It has a dedicated research facility,
the Regional and Urban Observatory for Greater
Tunis (Observatoire Urbain Régional du Grand
Tunis), and this facility publishes a number of very
useful statistical, mapping, and thematic reports.

In 2002, MEHAT’s Direction Générale de
l’Habitat decided to create a housing observatory
(L’Observatoire de L’immobilier et du Foncier,
OIF). This observatory was set up with technical
assistance from AUGT and has been functioning
since 2006. This Observatory prepares trimester
reports on housing indicators, and it has embarked
on a GIS system at the national scale. It also
undertakes focused studies of aspects of the
housing sector, and the following have been some
of its outputs:

1. Condominium ownership in residential building
in Tunisia

2. Elements of a new locational policy for the
housing sector

3. Anarchic or un-controlled housing in Tunisia

4. Social housing in the Tunis District

5. Vacant housing in Greater Tunis

6. Construction costs of social and economic
housing

7. Dilapidated and unhealthy housing in Tunisia

It also compiles periodic thematic reports, which
have indicators on

Building permits issued

Social housing

Land for sale

Housing for rent

Finally, OIF publishes trimester information
bulletins.

18

TUNISIA HOUSING PROFILE

CENTRAL LEVEL

In Tunisia the Department of Urban Planning
(Direction de l’Urbanisme) of the MEHAT is
responsible for developing city and land related
studies, structure plans, master plans, and area
development plans. Its main task is the preparation
of city plans (called plans d’amenagement urbain,
PAU) either directly by the Bureau’s technical staf
or through consulting frms. Most cities and towns
have had comprehensive plans prepared, and in many
revisions are common. Tese are mainly physical land
use plans, which function as “guidance” documents
to provide a general framework for land development
and infrastructure decisions. Tey are not rigid and
do not defne in detail all land uses and residential
densities. Municipalities themselves are expected to
fne-tune plans on a more-or-less continuous basis.
Tese plans are the basis for permissions to subdivide
land and designate land uses. Tey govern densities
and, ultimately, the issuance of building permits. Also,
central land development agencies such as AFH and
AFI plan and execute their projects in cities using the
approved city plans for guidance and in consultation
with municipalities and infrastructure providers.

It should be noted that in case a town does not have
an approved development plan, or in areas outside
communal boundaries, the MEHAT remains the
sole permit authority. Tus emerging towns and
peri-urban areas may in some cases be bereft of the
planning advantages inherent in city development
plans.

Te Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Finance
perform important fnancing and supervision
functions over local authorities, as explained below.

Te Urban Rehabilitation and Renovation
Agency (ARRU, Agence de Réhabilitation et de
Rénovation Urbaine) was created in 1981 and is in
charge of renovating and rehabilitating old quarters
and unregulated informal residential areas in cities.
ARRU has gained a reputation for excellence in terms
of its structure, operations, functions, and mandate.
Over the 1982-2009 period over 36 slum/informal
neighbourhoods have been upgrading in larger cities
throughout Tunisia. Currently ARRU is continuing
to consolidate its activities and is the main arm of
the National Programme for Rehabilitating Popular
Neighbourhoods (PNRQP, Programme national de
réhabilitation des quartiers populaires, established
in 2004). In a particular neighbourhood ARRU
typically focuses on improving water, sanitation,
roads, electricity, and public spaces, and at the same
time it coordinates with central and local sectoral
authorities for the provision of schools, clinics, and

institutions, such as the military, the police, and
ministries.

NGOs, PVOs, and local community associations

have been very weak in Tunisia, especially since
legislation in the 1960s introduced a new regulatory
system that forced local associations into larger,
national organizations, which were under the
quasi-control of the government. Only in the late
1990s did the government begin to perceive that
community organizations could have a positive role
in local economic and social development. Such
development-oriented NGOs remain very marginal,
although there have been attempts to include the
community participation dimension in some urban
area development and rehabilitation projects. On the
other hand there are a large number of associations,
mostly national, which are active in the social
welfare feld, but these depend almost completely
on State subsidies. Tere are also local and national
environmental NGOs that are very active, but they
tend to focus on preserving natural resources, wildlife,
and water bodies.4

Tere are a number of universities and training
institutes in Tunisia that have departments
relating to urban development, housing, and land
administration. Teir faculty members carry out
research and fgure prominently in conferences and
colloquies on urban issues. Most prominent are:

• Ecole Nationale d’Architecture et d’Urbanisme
de Tunis, University of Carthage

• Institut Superieur des Technologies de
l’Environnement et de Batiment (ISTEUB),
University of Seven November, Carthage

• Institut Preparatoire aux Etudes d’Ingenieurs de
Sfax, University of Sfax

• Institut de Recherche sur le Magreb
Contemporain, Tunis

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