The city served as a precursor in residential projects of Western Europe in the fifties and the following decades, so there are many things that we can learn from Casablanca.
social geographer / urban project manager
Brendan Culley's studies in the field of Geography took him to Utrecht University for a Master's in Urban Geography in 2010. That is where he got to work with AAmatters in the context of his thesis project. After that, he moved back to this hometown in Brussels and completed a second masters in Geography where he wrote his thesis on Ethnic entrepreneurship in the inner city. He now works on urban regeneration for a local municipality of Saint-Josse in Brussels, managing the Duurzaam wijkcontract programme which provides new public ameneties, better public space and a range of socio-economic cohesion initiatives to a neighbourhood that needs a fresh start.
Learning from Casablanca
During his studies in Urban Geography, Brendan began to develop an interest in the underlying mechanics which are at play in shaping cities of this world.
'You have top-down urban planning which translates a vision for the city or the development of a new neighbourhood, and you have bottom-up urban adaptation which follows a raw, immediate necessity that has its roots in family, living standards, household rythms, and even broader traits that pertain to society or tradition. These two approaches converse in the most spectacular fashion in the modernist experiment called 'Casablanca'. The city served as a precursor in residential projects of western Europe in the fifties and the following decades, so there are many things that we can learn from Casablanca.'
The user-initiated physical appropriation of dwellings by locals is what Brendan's Master's Thesis is all about. And it fitted well into the multi-disciplinary research programme steered by AAmatters.
If you want to read more about Brendan's thesis, it can be found here.