1936 Development Plan for Damascus
Damascus, Syria

A Service de l’Urbanisme was created in 1932 in Syria, and Michel Écochard, its future director and at that time advisory architect to the Syrian government, learnt directly on the job about the discipline of urban layouts, with the historian Jean Sauvaget helping him to broaden his horizons beyond his initial training as an architect. Écochard had mainly been involved in the investigation of Roman monuments and Islamic architecture, along with other French archaeologists and architects such as Claude Le Coeur, primarily focusing on the remnants of ancient water networks and the restoration of monuments. He developed some plans for the extension of Damascus, notably the layout of the town entrance along the Route de Beyrouth. Proposed new districts, whose outlines are developed by Danger, would be marked by streets fringed with trees, broad intersections, public gardens and small individual buildings of four or five storeys. As Danger drew up plans for new suburbs, ignoring traditional urban patterns, he avoided the old city, considering it to be a ‘backward place for the indigenous Arabs’, which led to its neglect. 

Danger, working with Écochard, proposed a road system radiating from the city centre and expanding outward the urban perimeter, creating a ring road around the old city to ease the congestion problems in the centre of the city (just west of the old city) and in principle enabling easy access across the town. Danger’s and Écochard’s framework for urban management was based on a modern functional zoning of the city, and so the master plan faced resistance from a city which had developed organically for the past thousand years. 

Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture

Damascus, Syria
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1936 Plan d'amènagement et d'extension de Damas
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urban design and development
urban design and development