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Department of Spatial Planning

New publication by Raffael Beier and Hassan Elmouelhi

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An outside perspective of Casablanca’s Er-Rhamna shantytown © Raffael Beier
Shantytown Er-Rhamna in Casablanca, Morocco (2017)


'Constructing Legitimacy through Pro-poor Housing? Branding Cities in Egypt and Morocco as “Slum-free”'

The chapter was published as part of the Book "Branding the Middle East", edited by Steffen Wippel. The chapter critically examines the branding of "slum-free" cities in Morocco and Egypt. In particular, it looks at the Moroccan "Villes Sans Bidonvilles" program (Cities without Slums) and the Egyptian government's goal of making the country "slum-free".


Content of the Chapter

This chapter sheds light on the histories, discourses, and consequences of the act and concept of branding cities as “slum-free” in Morocco and Egypt by focusing on Morocco’s Villes Sans Bidonvilles (Cities Without Slums) program and the Egyptian government’s goal of making the country “slum-free,” initially by 2018. Adopting a comparative approach, we aim to highlight an often-overlooked aspect of city branding, namely its effects on a local population rhetorically appropriated by state-led image building. Does city branding overlook its people or is it likely to drive improvement through socially sustainable housing solutions? Following these aims and questions, the chapter starts with a grounded literature discussion that reflects on the emergence of “slum-free” branding practices at the global level, as well as in Egypt and Morocco. Then, it reflects on slum dwellers’ attitudes towards and perspectives on policies associated with “slum-free” branding, taking a comparative look at such policies’ potential consequences for affected groups. It does so by building on previously published material gained through our own, separate empirical field research in Casablanca and Cairo, as well as the supervised work of students. The chapter concludes with a comparative analysis of commonalities, but also differences between practices of “slum-free” branding in Egypt and Morocco.

Here you may find the full chapter in the Book "Branding the Middle East".