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An analysis of slum resettlement through the eyes and experiences of people in the periphery of Casablanca, Morocco

posted on 2024-06-11, 04:02 authored by Omar Ben HamanOmar Ben Haman

The Moroccan government launched the ‘Cities Without Slums’ programme (Villes Sans Bidonvilles, or VSB, in French) in 2004, a national initiative with the strategic objective of addressing pressing issues of urban poverty, unsanitary housing and social exclusion. The programme endeavours to relocate residents of slums to mainly peripheral, but serviced, plots for auto-construction. In focusing on the third phase of resettlement of Lebrahma slum residents to the site at Al Marouwa, this thesis looks at people’s experiences of the processes and outcome of resettlement. Amongst the questions explored are: how should the VSB’s resettlement projects be viewed? Are these projects a solution to the challenge of slum dwellers or just new instruments to ‘impoverish’ and ‘transfer’ the social problems of slums from one site to another? In an attempt explore these questions, the thesis draws upon field research conducted at the resettlement site of Al Marouwa between September 2018 and August 2021, using in-depth interviews and observation. Additionally, to gauge the government’s perspective and gather details of the resettlement, in-depth interviews were conducted with key VSB officials.
Following Cernea’s theoretical model of how a resettlement intervention carries multiple risks of impoverishment, the findings show that moving people to the new resettlement site has barely ameliorated the situation. Instead, after being relocated and resettled at the Al Marouwa site, many households experienced forms of impoverishment such as homelessness, marginalisation, and joblessness. Besides this, the findings also highlight that resettlement did not only impoverish the living conditions of former residents of Lebrahma, but that it also relocated the social problems of slums from one site to another. Thus, this thesis challenges the slogans about fighting poverty and addressing the pressing social problems of slums that were declaimed so promisingly at the VSB’s inception.
Overall, the thesis offers a critical understanding of slum resettlement from people-centred perspectives. It advances the argument that resettlement, of which the third phase of resettlement of the Lebrahma slum to Al Marouwa is an example, does not only impoverish former slum dwellers but effectively transfers social problems from one site to another. It is for this reason that resettlement, as this thesis argues, cannot be seen as a solution to the challenge of slums unless it is accompanied by structural interventions that seriously seek to improve the living conditions of slum dwellers.



  • PhD Thesis


xviii, 234 pages


School of Social Sciences


University of Tasmania



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