By: Said Temsamani
Today many Moroccans live in towns and cities. Urban areas concentrate most of the environmental challenges facing our society but also bring together commitment and innovation to resolve them. The meaning of ‘The Green City’ concept in recent years and how it could be developed in the future. This was needed then, and it is still needed today. Urbanisation is increasing in Morocco currently.
A large portion of the population lives in cities. In another thirty years, the number will skyrocket. To keep cities liveable and economically sound, it is important that construction activities are not conducted at the expense of green space. By now, ‘The Green City’ concept has been embraced by various organisations and government agencies. Other cities and towns in Morocco now should join together in the form of a Moroccan Green City Network. The Green City will certainly attract attention internationally.
The Green City of Benguerir was held not simply to realise a non-recurring event for sightseers, but as a way to introduce more green into the whole region. This approach will greatly improve the livability of the city and means that organisations, citizens and the government are not only involved in the development of Benguerir but will also start other projects to beautify Bengueir and the neighboring towns: undeveloped sites will become green oases, unsightly construction sites will be screened from view by covering walls with plants, and mature trees will be getting the protection they deserve. In these ways, plantings and green space are taking on functional meaning in everyday life.
Diversity and function are also important: a carpet of gardens providing the foundation for highlighting the functions of plants such as food production, horticulture, health, art, culture and education, energy and water management.
Green is indispensable for creating liveable cities. The challenge is for the construction industry to work together with the horticultural sector. It will be important not just to develop ideas together but also to implement these plans. These times in particular demand taking action: the future starts now.
Governors, mayors and NGOs should be looking ahead to ways in which cities can provide for their green space and food needs. Technology will play a major role in this. For example, the construction of vertical greenhouses for the large-scaled production of vegetables. In Morocco there are actually plant labs. The co-production and courage were the first criteria to realise these kinds of innovations. The good news is that the time is ripe for innovators in Africa to do just that. After all, periods of crisis are the best times to realise breakthroughs. Dare to innovate!
This exhortation will certainly be taken to heart by the advocators of the ‘Growing Green Cities in Africa and the Arab world– A Call to Action manifesto. This means Morocco, as usual, will commit itself not only to sharing its expertise but to apply it as well. And Morocco is looking forward to doing this. King Mohammed has always advocated sustainable spatial development in Africa. In his optimistic vision, he would like to see similar green cities not only in Morocco but in the whole African continent.
Said Temsamani is a Moroccan political observer and consultant, who follows events in his country and across North Africa. He is a Senior Fellow, Merdian International Center Washington DC, Founder and CEO “Public Initiatives” Consulting firm and Former Senior Political Advisor, US Embassy Rabat, Morocco