Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cities without Slums

Matthew Chebatoris reports on the progress of an anti-slum initiative in Morocco:
"Although Morocco has become a popular tourist destination for those seeking an exotic, yet safe location, prior to the initiation of 'Cities without Slums' approximately 1.5 million Moroccans lived in slums on the outskirts of the country’s largest cities. According to Fatna Chihab, the head of social housing at the Ministry for Habitat and Urban Planning, 'Slums are a problem all over the developing world. Morocco’s originality is that his majesty has decided to tackle the issue head on.' To date, roughly 43 percent of the 300,000 families identified as living in urban slums have been re-housed, claimed Chihab. The new urban areas are being purposefully designed with schools, hospitals and community centers incorporated into the plans. (United Mediterranean Council of Industries [UMCI] News, April 21). Additional steps are being taken to provide better living conditions for the country’s rural community. Initiatives are currently in place to bring electricity and running water to rural villages as a measure to discourage poor residents from migrating to urban areas and complicating the slum eradication efforts underway. (UMCI News, April 21)"

The connection between slums and terrorism in Morocco is a theme in Laila Lalami's new novel, Secret Son.



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