Rabat retrospective: Colonial heritage in a Moroccan urban laboratory

Lauren Wagner*, Claudio Minca

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Louis H-G Lyautey’s legacy as colonial regent of Morocco and as an innovator in French urban planning resonates through his transformation of Rabat according to entirely new spatial logics of modernity. While his plans produced conditions for structural difficulty in indigenous housing, they also enabled the preservation of historic monuments as spaces for tourist consumption – that are now, post-Independence, considered part of Moroccan national history. The grand colonial vision of Lyautey is in many ways perpetuated in contemporary developments of the region, in particular through the current Bouregreg Valley project that will dramatically redesign the landscape of the capital in the next few years. While the project involves massive neoliberal flows of global capital, its goals reflect much of Lyautey’s lasting influence on mapping heritage and Moroccan modernity, and the path of the European tourist through the Moroccan landscape.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3011-3025
Number of pages15
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • French colonialism
  • heritage
  • Lyautey
  • modernity
  • tourism


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