Peripheries of a colony: modernity as a challenge in Tetouan

Tetouan's Barrio Málaga

Immigrants from different places, spanish and moroccan, gathered in the neighborhood. […] About this part of Tetouan, we should write not a history but… a novel“. Mohamed Anakar, former resident of barrio Málaga.

Haussman and Cerdà’s modern urbanism was at its peak in Europe, when the Sultanate of Morocco fell under the military and economic pressures of France and Spain. So hispano-moroccan colonial cities grew as cities in an unlimited expansion; but at the margins of the m

edina and the “Ensanche” grid, popular neighborhoods developed, in which lower-class moroccan and spanish neighbors challenged the cultural and linguistic barriers, like a working-class dance in front of modernity. With El barrio Málaga video [link], and the exposition Tetuán desafíos de la modernidad [link] (recently opened in Casablanca) the interdisciplinary equipe of architect Alejandro MUCHADA proposes a post-colonial look on the hispano-moroccan city observed from its peripheries: where the lower classes  cohabited and created their own city, outside all plannings, and in an overflowing melting pot.

  • “Tetúanmodernchallenge” is a research of Gamuc.org group on the urban and social transformations during the 45 years of spanish occupation in the north of Morocco, through the lens of social housing: PDF of the expo presentet this april in Casablanca : presentation of the expo : Webpage Tetuán Modern Challenge
  • The word challenge refers to the moroccan historian Abdallah LAROUI, who used it to describe what modernity represented for pre-colonial moroccan society. See also Josep Lluís MATEO (2007) “El interventor y el caíd. La política colonial española frente a la justícia marroquí durante el protectorado” [PDF]
  • The historical critique allows us to identify what solutions were offered to this challenge in the field of housing. Architect Alfonso de Sierra Ochoa put forward a series of middle-scale projects, in which where involved Moroccans from Tetouan: through architecture, we can compare what modernity was imagined in that times, with the one Morocco has today.

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