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The revival of old Tangier, the "pearl" of Morocco


In the North of Morocco, residents of the city of Tangier have mobilized to give new life to abandoned streets of their mythical city.

Murals, colorful facades, flowery streets … “The idea came to the inhabitants, without the intervention of political parties or associations,” said al-Rafih KANFAOUI, 33, from the neighborhood Ibn Battuta.

Gradually, “the district has taken a pace that nobody would have imagined,” he says proudly.

Standing on the heights of the city, the old districts of Tangier starved of green spaces. This is what has particularly pushed the inhabitants of thirteen districts to mobilize, answering the call of several citizen initiatives before the November launch of the COP22 in Marrakech.

Facades of houses now display different colors and flower pots were placed at the doors and windows.

Local initiative

The streets of the neighborhood Ibn Battuta were repainted in green and purple and a passage for wheelchairs has been fitted.

“We helped each other, men and women, young and old children to decorate” the city,” said Soufyane Abdel-Muttalib, 30.

Here the initiative was funded by the residents themselves. Four districts in February won awards from the Observatory of the Environmental and Historical monuments of Tangier.

“These projects have changed the situation in many areas marginalized and showed that it was possible (for residents) to distinguish the local and national levels,” said a civil society activist, Mohammed Salmoun.

But he says local leaders should take over the real “environmental problems”.

Factories are located within residential neighbourhoods, concrete encroaches more and more of the surrounding forests and landfills let escape toxic gases.


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