Lauren Wagner has won a grant from the American Institute for Maghreb Studies (AIMS) for a project called ‘Property of Tangier: Dynamics of Housing Occupancy in an International City’. The aim of the AIMS is to promote the systematic study of North Africa among interested scholars, specialists, students, and others concerned with the region. The grant covers 8 weeks of research in Morocco.
The grant is related to Lauren’s WASS project on urbanisation in Tangier. “Issues of migrant integration and cohesion in cities are predominantly discussed from the Northern perspective,” she says, “with a focus on how migrant communities contribute to cities in the developed world. In this project we reconsider the impact migrants have on Tangier in Morocco, a southern metropolis where rapid urbanisation over the last decade has influenced dynamics of community life through its spatial organisation.”
These impacts are felt as much by the presence of migrants in the city, to the extent that domestic economic migration is expanded Tangier, as by the absence of homeowners who are migrants elsewhere, predominantly in Europe. Significant housing developments on the edges of Tangier, near its coastal zones and new highways, are built and marketed for this semi-resident public, who seek a vacation home in their ‘homeland’ that responds to their desires for leisure and tourism consumption during the summer holidays. These zones of urban expansion – sometimes heavily planned, sometimes ad-hoc – become neighbourhoods of patchwork inhabitancy and absentee owners, whose role as semi-citizens of an international city further complicates its cohesion.