Casablanca a City Without Slums
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A “Cities without Slums” Programme in Morocco
to achieve a slum free target by 2010
Slums settlements are observed in much of the world. Indeed, 32% of the worlds urban population live in slums, majority of them in developing countries. And if no action is taken the worldwide slums are likely to increase the next 30 years to about 2 billion. As a consequence, many developing countries tried to tackle the problem using different ways and experimentations. For example, India has adopted a “slum free cities” strategy to face the problem of urban poverty. In many other developing countries, the same strategy has been adopted because is one of the most important aspects of urban poverty. So to discuss the problem of slums prevention we will take the example of the “Cities without Slums” in Morocco which is a comparable approach to “Slum free cities” strategy in India.
Moroccos cities are beset by the urban problems that plague so many cities through the world. They are characterized by a particular severe housing problem. It is said that all Moroccan cities are married: their wedding ring is the circle of shanty-towns that surround them. Known in North Africa as “bidonvilles”, or cities of oil drums, these are vast communities built of flattened oil drums, wood scraps and any other materials the inhabitants come upon. Several “bidonvilles” communities, notably in Casablanca, number over 100,000 residents (which is big compared to the country population of 38 million), and are growing at 7% a year. The total population in bidonvilles is estimated at over 1 million, more than one quarter of the total urban population. Density in the bidonvilles is extremely high, and increasing. Following this premise, some government officials have suggested that any current action in the cities must necessarily, be piecemeal, alleviating some misery in the short term, but contributing to permanent solutions.
Therefore, Morocco has a long history of slums and of slum reduction/ upgrading/ rehabilitation/ eradication that goes back to the beginning of last century. Casablanca, the largest city of the country which hosts also the largest slums, has been during last World Habitat Day (4 October 2004) the launch pad of the “2004-2010 Cities without Slums” programme aiming at achieving the target of improving the lives of all slums dwellers by 2010. The programme includes also citywide urban development programmes to offer alternatives to slums.
The programme is based on “City Contracts” which bind the local authorities and their partners in the achievement of citywide programmes by the set date. The principles of the programme are:
An assessment of the existing slums and identification of the slum households, in