The creation of oases, through careful land and building management, has made desert living possible for centuries. Increased tourism and climate change, however, are forcing local communities to leave, abandoning their cultural heritage as the desert creeps in. Aziza Chaouni is focused on reversing the damage by designing a new approach to sustainability and cultural heritage preservation. In her hometown of Fez, Morocco, the oasis of M’hamid Al Ghizlan was on its way to extinction until Chaouni established Joudour Sahara, a music school built with sustainable, local materials – such as rammed earth, stone, wood and bamboo – and powered by an autonomous, photovoltaic energy system. Thanks to the project, the desert has stopped trying to eat M’hamid, residents are staying in their homes and their cultural heritage is now thriving. She concludes her talk with a live performance by the students of Joudour Sahara.
How to create a sustainable living and preserve cultural heritage in the desert