Design Studio

Inclusive Tangier

ETHZ MAS Urban Design: Inclusive Urbanism and Migration 2017-2019

Once loved by painters, drug addicts, and diplomats, and part of a by-gone mythical cultural landscape, Tangier and its aura are indissociable from a unique position at the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, in-between continents, Africa and Europe. It can be no coincidence that the city that gave to the world Ibn Battuta, prominent explorer and geographer, also benefits from an exceptional situation, overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar, which indeed explains why during the colonial occupation of Morocco in 1912, the city was annexed to the French Protectorate. Turned into an international zone, to be jointly governed by European powers, Tangier gained a cosmopolitan reputation that lingers, still visible in its built substance. Today, Tangier is an incoming hub of migration, commerce, and transit, but for many, the coast of Europe, a mere 14,4 kilometers away, is on a clear day, visible from Tangier, yet inaccessible. But the one who expects to see in Tangier Sub-Saharans migration flows directed to Europe is in for a surprise. Migration there takes many forms: from Europeans buying real estate on the Medina to rural migrants from inland Morocco, and Moroccan expatriates flocking in for the summer, their impact on the built environment is much larger than the media-touted purportedly constant flow of Sub-Saharans. Gentrification, spontaneous housing, and speculative massive estates are some of the consequences of these waves. Occupied to, in the first place, debunk migration as a misused and misconstrued concept, the studio investigates the topic as an entry point into a political understanding of architecture, where urban design is applied at the service of communities, attempting to offer sensible, informed, collaboratively-developed and non-patronizing betterments—all of that in a slippery post- or neo-colonial context.

A video realized by U5 was produced for the Rabat Architecture Biennale and exhibited at the Institut du Monde Arabe in July 2018 showing 7 projects for a more inclusive Tangier.

An article was published in 'MIGRANT: DARK MATTERS' by Georges A. Bajalia and Charlotte Malterre-Barthes: A Crossing to Ceuta.

Students: Ahn Doyoung, Ashok Kumar Preethi, Bilbao Velez Berta, Cirron Chiara, Del Piñal Álvarez De Buergo Lucía, Gao Ge, Kan Carol, Levine Mardones Pablo, Li Jin, Malami Virginia, Orozco Aguirre Maria Jose, Papadimas Kampelis Georgios, Schulman Alexis, Shen Wenjie, Tsakalakis-Karkas Alexios, Tsantilas Gregory, Tzevelekou Christina.

Teaching Assistants: Lukas Graf, Sara Sherif
2017-2018, Director, in collaboration with Something Fantastic and Think Tanger, ETHZ.