Building the World

March 20, 2014
by buildingtheworld
1 Comment

Special Economic Zones – SEZ

Canal des Deux Mers. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Historians might trace the first SEZ to 1666, citing the Canal des Deux Mers or Canal between the Two Seas. Connecting the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, the Canal was an economic success; using a medieval model, Pierre-Paul Riquet worked with the French government to make the route an independent fief. Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in more recent times must include Puerto Rico in 1942, and economists point to Shenzhen as the very important first SEZ in China; once a village, Shenzhen grew rapidly when advantageous business and tax laws were granted in the 1980’s to promote commerce. Recent research by the World Bank explores SEZ success factors. It must be noted that many Special Economic Zones involve water locations. The Canal des Deux Mers is not just an economic but also an environmental achievement, preserving and enhancing a waterway that today is a World Heritage Site. Can France’s Canal des Deux Mers inspire new forms of environmentally wise SEZ development? Might the Dutch success of protective dikes and land reclamation be emulated in coastal environments?  Will Frank Davidson and Ernst Frankel prove visionary in proposing a free-trade zone enhanced by artificial islands or reclaimed land from the sea offshore Israel and Jordan?

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

February 26, 2013
by zoequinn001
2 Comments

Cycling in France

Cyclists along the Canal du Midi, from The Daily Mail, at dailymail.com.

Think of Paris and the image of a young man or woman riding a bicycle through the streets with a baguette in the front basket almost immediately comes to mind. Cycling is also associated with France through the famed Tour de France annual cycling race. It is no surprise then, that cycling is also a popular form of sight-seeing for French people and visitors. The Canal du Midi of the Canal des Deux Mers offers wonderful scenery to the cycling tourist, be it a casual ride along the banks, or a more intense trip from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. There are many guides available, from  Lonely Planet to personal blogs. Find one today and get pedalling!

Creative Commons License
Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G. Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

May 29, 2012
by zoequinn001
0 comments

It’s All in the Timing

The Canal des Deux Mers was not a new idea by Riquet’s time, although he perfected it. The Archbishop of Toulouse headed a special commission chartered by King Henry IV (1553-1610) to study feasibility of a canal linking the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Henry IV was following a line of similar visionaries. Even Charlemagne wanted to build the canal. There is evidence of ancient Roman emperors trying to engineer the route. Charlemagne, to be fair, didn’t have the technology. But Riquet was able to conquer a rocky patch near Beziers by blasting a tunnel – measuring 157 meters (515 feet) long, 6.7 meters (22 feet) wide and 8 meters (27 feet) high – with black powder. It was one of the earliest uses of explosives in subterranean construction.

The tunnel as it exists today, from canaldumidi.org

Creative Commons License
Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Skip to toolbar