(Re)inventing Cities: Successful Cases
OCP Policy Center, in collaboration with the German Marshall Fund, hosted a seminar on « (Re)inventing Cities: Successful Cases » on April 29th , 2015 in Rabat. This event was composed of three main sessions: “Transforming post-industrial cities into services oriented economies: concrete examples”, “Inventing new cities: case studies from Morocco” and “Gestion urbaine : l’expérience de Rabat”.
The first session featured a discussion by Megan Doherty from the German Marshall Fund who, first, presented the rationale behind selecting the cases of Bilbao and Detroit, amongst others, as concrete examples of leadership.
The speaker described leadership as the collaborative action with the ambition to generate fundamental change. Based on this description, five case studies that illustrate transformational leadership were presented.
In the case of Bilbao, It is the city “hitting rock bottom” that triggered a substantial mobilization by the city council to engage in a transformational process. This process, which took about two decades, helped transform the city from post-industrial decay to a thriving culture and knowledge based economy.
Many levels of governments joined efforts into a common entity, Bilbao Ria 2000. This urban redevelopment authority helped involve large public companies which contributed in many forms such as empty fields for the Guggenheim museum.
The speaker added that Bilbao’s PPPs succeeded thanks to sound financial planning and public management. As of 2015, Bilbao’s transformation was carried with low debt levels and no outstanding bank loans thanks to good governance. Building consensual partnerships and long-term vision were also key to the success of the mission of Bilbao Ria 2000.
In the case of Detroit, it is the partnership between civic society and the public sector that helped save the city. Like Bilbao, Detroit suffered from its declining industry. The city also endured a decrease in its tax base after most of its white collar inhabitants, including their employers, moved to the suburbs. Combined with other factors, the city declared bankruptcy in 2013.
Detroit’s situation deteriorated so severely that creditors wanted to seize the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) which gathers worldwide renowned art pieces.
The speaker also outlined Detroit’s grand bargain through which state and local governments, citizens, and philanthropic foundations came together with different forms of contributions to save the city. She added that such a move was a true translation of civic duty and engagement.
Megan Doherty concluded the first session by numerating the three main traits needed for the transformational leadership the cities of Bilbao and Detroit witnessed. They are (i) openness to new ideas and fresh solutions, (ii) forming bold, cross-cutting solutions and (iii) building sustainable “leadership pipelines” to ensure broader support for reforms.
The second session consisted of a presentation introducing the Mohamed VI Ville Verte project that is under construction in Benguerir. The presentation of this project was an illustration that change can happen without the need for a crisis to trigger such a change, unlike the cases presented in the first session. The Mohamed VI Ville Verte therefore represents a transformational change in a non-crisis mode that will provide an all-encompassing make-over of not only Benguerir, but the region as a whole. The Ville Verte project has the aspirations of shifting the role of the city, namely from one focused on phosphate development and mining, to one that will promote education and a knowledge-oriented ecosystem. Within this context, the heart of the project would be the Mohamed 6 University, which seeks to eventually offer first-class education, and set the tone for the Research and Development objectives of this project.
Last, but certainly not least, the third session was another illustration of leadership and change through the presentation of the major transformations undergoing in the capital.
Over the past decade, Rabat has undergone an identity transformation, and has come to represent more than just the administrative capital. Since the year 2000, Rabat has been attempting to redefine itself, and has been moving away from the administrative tag that has been attached to it since the country’s independence. The shift to tertiary activities is underway and now constitute a central role in Rabat’s activity range.
Rabat is also gradually shifting to the cultural and knowledge capital, and is becoming more central as it represents the core of a three-city agglomeration and the heart of a region.
|09:30 - 09:35||
Opening remarks : OCP Policy Center
|09:40 - 10:20||
Transforming Post-Industrial Cities into Services Oriented Economies : Concrete Examples
Ms. Megan Doherty, Transatlantic Fellow, GMF
|10:20 - 11:00||
Inventing New Cities : Case Studies from Morocco
Mr. Youssef Safouane , General Director, Société d'Aménagement et de Développement Vert (SADV)
|11:00 - 11:20||
|11:20 - 12:00||
Gestion Urbaine : l'Expérience de Rabat
S.E. Fathallah Oualalou , Maire de Rabat
Maire de Rabat
Fathallah Oualalou obtient une licence en sciences économiques à la faculté de Droit de Rabat en 1964 et un DESS en économie en 1966 à Paris.
Outre son activité en tant qu'assistant au centre universitaire de recherche scientifique, il sera président de l'UNEM et responsable de la Confédération des Etudiants du Maghreb.
En 1968, il soutiendra une thèse de Doctorat en économie à Paris, avant de faire partie du corps enseignant de la faculté de Droit de Rabat, de Casablanca et de l'ENA.
De 1968 à 1997, il publiera de nombreux travaux (ouvrages, articles, etc...) dans les domaines de la théorie économique, de l'économie financière, de l'économie des pays du Maghreb et du monde arabe et des relations Europe-monde arabe. En 1972, il participera au sein du "groupe de Rabat", au lancement de l'USFP, dont il devient un des membres influents. De 1968 à 1977, il sera également membre du bureau national du Syndicat national de l'enseignement supérieur (SNE-SUP). En 1972, avec l'économiste feu Abdelaziz Belal, il crée l'Association des économistes marocains, dont il est président depuis 1982.
Parallèlement, il sera élu à plusieurs reprises président de l'Union des économistes arabes. Il est élu plusieurs fois au Conseil municipal à Rabat et député à la Chambre des représentants. Le 14 mars 1998, feu SM Hassan II le nomme ministre de l'Economie et des finances.
M. Oualalou est actuellement Maire de Rabat.
Youssef SAFOUANE is the General Director of SADV, an OCP Group subsidiary founded in 2011 to nurture, design and develop major urban projects, biggest of which is Mohammed VI Green City, a 1,000 ha university city initiated by OCP Group in Benguerir.
Before joining OCP, Youssef SAFOUANE spent over 7 years in the public sector within the Ministry of Interior of the Kingdom of Morocco, holding various positions including Minister's staff member. Youssef SAFOUANE is an alumnus of Sciences Po Paris and Ecole Nationale d'Administration. He also holds an engineer degree from Ecole Nationale d'Arts et Métiers in Paris.
Megan Doherty is a transatlantic fellow with GMF in Washington, DC, where she focuses on issues related to leadership development such as next generation access and equity, public diplomacy, and diversity and inclusion across the transatlantic space. Her expertise includes cross-cultural relations and institutional development, and she has a particular interest in the ways different national and cultural contexts shape leaders’ worldviews and ultimately affect policy innovations.
Doherty has devoted her career to understanding and furthering cross-cultural communication and development. Prior to joining GMF, she was a lecturer in political philosophy at Columbia University in New York City. Her doctoral research in international history, also from Columbia, examined the ways networks of writers mobilized across national lines to rally cultural power as a diplomatic force to counter political extremism during the 20th century. She has written articles for several academic journals, mainstream outlets such as the Huffington Post and the Chronicle of Higher Education, and as a blogger for various outlets. Doherty holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University and a BA (Hons.) from the University of Melbourne, Australia.