"In 1960's the Government of Tunisia started the implementation of a comprehensive countryside development programme, thus making the first step towards a socialist economic policy at the national level. In an effort to improve the living conditions of thousands of peasants, an agricultural campaign, known as the "Cooperatives" was launched and a territory planning agenda was set. Numerous rural communities, especially those living in the Tell Mountains, were forced to move to new, more accessible locations. Situated in the plains, generally few miles down from the ancient villages, the new settlements were designed to be easily accessed. Public services and rural housing facilities were accordingly built to secure this ambitious territory programme."