New City-Building in Morocco: Policy Transfer as an Entrepreneurial Venture

Authors: Laurence Côté-Roy*, McGill University
Topics: Urban Geography, Planning Geography, Africa
Keywords: policy mobilities, entrepreneurial urbanism, new master-planned city, Morocco, urban policy market
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Studio 10, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Since 2004, Morocco has pursued ambitious new city-building operations intended to fulfill national economic development objectives and address urgent problems relating to rapid urbanization. 15 new city projects, overseen by the state and executed by parastatal, public and private actors, are currently planned or underway across the kingdom. Most recently, Morocco announced its own involvement in new city projects in Senegal, South Sudan and Ivory Coast. In this article, I focus on the emergence of an urban policy market for new city models, and the commodification of policy exchanges within the context of new city-building proliferation in emerging economies of the ‘Global South’. I investigate the role of policy transfer and dissemination in entrepreneurial modes of urban development. As such, I analyze another facet of new city ventures and entrepreneurial urbanism by focusing on the creation of urban ‘derivative products’ and the marketization of expertise and best practices. Based on interviews conducted in 2016 with chief planners, architects, new city CEOs and government officials in Zenata Eco-City and Benguerir Green City, I examine practices of city branding, the development of international certifications, and the formation of strategic partnerships for policy exchanges as core components of Morocco’s entrepreneurial strategy within the urban policy market. Drawing from policy mobilities and assemblages literature, I demonstrate that this strategy aims to reposition Morocco’s newly built cities as ‘teaching’ city models within transnational urban policy networks, to advance Morocco’s new city agenda and national development goals.

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