SHS Web Conf.
Volume 63, 2019Modernism, Modernisation and the Rural Landscape, Proceedings of the MODSCAPES_conference2018 & Baltic Landscape Forum
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Section||Mapping Modernist Rural Landscapes: Methodologies and Outcomes|
|Published online||15 April 2019|
Land reclamation, farm mechanisation, rural repopulation: the shifting landscape of the Gharb Valley in Morocco, 1912–1956
Université libre de Bruxelles, Faculty of Architecture La Cambre-Horta, HABITER Study Center, Brussels, Belgium
Corresponding author: email@example.com
This article investigates rural resettlement schemes implemented by the French colonial administration in the light of the relationship between major economic, social and demographic dynamics in the Protectorate of Morocco. It explores the ways in which the French colonisers transformed the rural landscape of the Gharb valley in Morocco’s Rabat region. I depict the spatial configuration of the several stages by which rural colonisation and agricultural modernisation took place in the region, in relation to the patterns of human settlement they produced. The initial spatial configuration of the Gharb, determined by French colonial policies through the official colonisation programme and its orientation toward extensive agriculture, was subverted by the massive introduction of water drainage and irrigation infrastructure. The construction of reservoir dams and the establishment of drainage and irrigation perimeters across the valley induced a concentration of private and public investments that led to rural modernisation in certain, delimited areas. To compensate for a rural exodus that was overcrowding the outskirts of major Moroccan urban centres and for the lack of a local workforce available for employment on colonists’ farms, the French architect and urban planner Michel Écochard and his collaborators at the Service de l’Urbanisme conceived an ambitious programme of rural resettlements in the Gharb valley.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2019
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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