solution-oriented collaborative computational planning for smoother decision-making

Indicator-based Dynamic Land Use Planning Tool

To address the numerous urban challenges of Nouakchott and to be able to propose a robust and collectively-agreed land use plan for the future development, an interactive and participatory planning tool, based on relevant local indicators, had to be created.

Since its establishment as capital city of Mauritania in the late 1960s, Nouakchott has been growing rapidly and without control, especially under the influence of strong rural exodus due to droughts in the interior of the country. The massive influx of population resulted in formation of vast unplanned residential areas, or shanty towns, in the vicinity of the central area, as well as in the outskirts of the city as ribbon type sprawl. Accordingly, the living environment of the citizens of Nouakchott was deteriorated considerably by severe shortage of access to infrastructure and social services, among others. In addition, the fact that Nouakchott is settled on a highly vulnerable site, threatened by sand silting, salty soils, coastal erosion, frequent flooding and stagnant water, makes the planning of its future land use even more complex. 

Based on the above-mentioned circumstances, the Project of Nouakchott City Urban Master Plan Development was launched under the assistance of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The selected consultant Joint Venture led by RECS International deployed a team of experts for 2 years to make the study for the formulation of the Urban Master Plan (SDAU: Schéma Directeur d'Aménagement et d'Urbanisme) of Nouakchott City at the horizon 2040.

Alongside a comprehensive multi-sector diagnosis, we used GIS tools to firstly assess the urban expansion potential by crossing 14 attraction and repulsion geographic criteria such as flood-prone areas, moving sand dunes area, proximity to drinkable water source, etc.

The preferred direction for urban development being clarified, several land use development alternatives were drafted. Intending to meet the same socio-economic targets of doubling the population and the number of jobs by 2040, the land use alternatives computed through GIS showed different urban densities and spatial organizations.

The indicators created for the comparison of the scenarios included dwelling units, job numbers for each economic sector, area of green and open spaces etc. Using the tool developed by Pragmetrics, participatory working sessions with responsible agencies and local authorities led to the selection of the optimal urban development alternative, the one which proposes densification patterns which boost economic efficiency without harming the nomadic lifestyle of Mauritanian citizens by concentrating all major functions and services in secondary poles.

The tool in action:

This model can be reproduced in any other city or region. Do not hesitate to contact us to assess the feasibility of this model in your area and obtain a detailed quote for consulting and participatory facilitation services.


Nouakchott, Mauritanie

Founded by
Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning (MHUAT)