RESEARCH . BORDERS

'Overlapping Territories'  Iulia Fratila, UCL BPro MArch UD RC12 2012/13

'Overlapping Territories'  Iulia Fratila, UCL BPro MArch UD RC12 2012/13

'Overlapping Territories'  Iulia Fratila, UCL BPro MArch UD RC12 2012/13

'Overlapping Territories'  Iulia Fratila, UCL BPro MArch UD RC12 2012/13

Every year, thousands of “irregulars” die trying to cross the Strait of Gibraltar. Every day, 30 000 Moroccans cross the borders of Ceuta to “offer” themselves as cleaners, traders, smugglers. The young of Morocco dream of becoming migrants. But  the ’97 Declaration of Barcelona brings up a tool for fighting the root causes of migration to the North, i.e. the establishment of free-trade zones in the South. As an immediate effect, we see the apparition of the Ceuta fence in 1998 and the “electronic wall” along the Moroccan coastline as predictions of the many special economic zones that have been set up in the past years in the Tangier – Tetouan area.

In this context of increasing social inequality and militarization of borders, my project starts by questioning  what is the city’s relationship with its forbidden hinterland and how does it relate to the far territories? How can these borders move, adapt and interact with the movement of illegal immigrants, tourists, military and commercial ships in order to establish a more symmetrical relationship between Spain and Morocco?

My proposal acknowledges the Moroccan government’s plan of establishing a new commercial free zone near the border to Ceuta and tries to shape it into an instrument for social development, not only economic growth. The project proposes a scenario in which this space of exemption could feed a central spine of a neighbourhood, while the whole free-zone is designed as a real piece of a city, slowly taken over by its inhabitants and potentially becoming a new centrality.