HOW PLANNING FOR PRIVACY SHAPED THE RIAD AND MARRAKECH MEDINA

Climatic factors aside, jurisprudence and the laws pertaining to the rights and privacies of adjacent neighbours played an important role in the way old Marrakech developed.



The cellular structure created by the riads
in Marrakech medina

"NO HARM AND NO HARM"

The principal was based on 'la darar wa la darar' meaning no harm and no harm.

It was left to informal agreements between neighbours to mutually restrict each other's property usage.

These legal principles went to the heart of the city itself. For example, any walk through the narrow winding streets will reveal the windowless walls and that main doors are always staggered so they do not face each other.

Both prevent residents from intruding into the private life of neighbours.

In turn this encouraged the cellular form of the medina in Marrakech and elsewhere. If such agreements were unenforced or non-existent, litigation redressed the grievance.

If a minaret looked directly into a riad courtyard, a neighbour could complain—and win.

THE CASE OF THE STAIRCASE TO THE ROOF

A riad owner had a stair to his roof. The stair and the roof were protected by a wall. The wall fell down and therefore anyone ascending the stair could see into the neighbouring house.

The neighbour asked the owner to rebuild the wall, but he refused, so he took him to court.

The judge did not compel the owner to rebuild the wall but made him liable for punishment should he or anyone else ascend by the stair to the roof.


> Map of Marrakech Medina