Theses Master's

Youth-driven action, participatory planning, and the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals in Tunisian cities

Sellami, Zeineb

The purpose of this research is to evaluate how youth-driven initiatives and participatory planning within municipalities affect the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 at the grassroots, municipal, and national levels. The research focuses on post-revolution Tunisia and the changes that have occurred since the Arab Spring transformed the MENA region in 2011. It begins by exploring the SDGs as global frameworks, where attainment is measured at the national level but whose goals are prescribed in more localized contexts, with cities playing a key role. The study then questions the effectiveness of post-revolution decentralization policies on municipal projects and participatory mechanisms. Finally, this thesis explores the advent of multiplying youth-driven grassroots initiatives that, deliberately or unknowingly, align with global sustainability goals.

In addition to archival research on the SDGs and Tunisian municipal structures, the research employs semi-structured interviews allowing for a more in-depth view of the situation at the local level. Interviewees include experts from the UNDP, private sector, international organizations, municipal decision-makers, and youth leaders that spearhead initiatives across their neighborhoods. The aim is to shed light on the rarely discussed role of youth at the intersection of local and global planning frameworks through this Tunisian case-study. Where most research studies focus on a single one of the aforementioned topics, this thesis brings together three levels of inquiry: the global, the national, and the local to shed light onto the complex dynamics that spur and determine planning outcomes in Tunisia’s post-revolutionary context.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Bou Akar, Hiba
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
July 12, 2021