Negotiating urban sprawl. A comparison of the governance of periurbanization in Perpignan (France) and Casablanca (Morocco)

Authors: Max Rousseau*, CIRAD, Aurelie Delage*, University of Perpignan
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Political Geography, Third World
Keywords: urban sprawl, periurbanization, governance, geopolitics, North/South divide, Mediterranean area.
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Cleveland 1, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In the face of a growing pressure on natural resources, concerns with urban sprawl in the Mediterranean region have greatly aroused over the last decade. The actors involved are diverse, and so are the arguments they mobilize. Many new measures have recently been introduced in order to limit the extension of cities on their rural hinterlands. However, their results remain unclear as most cities continue to sprawl.
This communication will compare two cases across the Mediterranean sea: Perpignan (France) and Casablanca (Morocco). Both city-regions face a rather strong demographic growth, which causes a growing pressure on their agrarian hinterlands. Yet Casablanca and Perpignan present also an important difference related to their political, demographic, social and economic trajectories. Closely controlled by Morocco’s authoritarian regime, Casablanca stands as the biggest and most economically dynamic city of North Africa while Perpignan does not manage to come to terms with a long-term dynamic of slow growth, and even periphalization.
The objective of this communication is to compare the negotiation of urban sprawl according to these highly contrasted contexts. After having provided a brief historical analysis of the dynamics of urban sprawl in Casablanca and Perpignan, we will explore several current conflicts in order to identify the main actors implied in the negotiation of periurbanization. Hypothetically, the landowner profiles and motivations are diverse when selling their agricultural land. We will also pay a particular attention to the evolution of the role of the “rural representatives” in the governance of urban sprawl.

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