Morocco’s King Mohammed VI recently visited the site of Mohammed VI Green City, a future “eco” development being built just outside of Benguerir – one of the largest phosphate producing areas in the country. Located just 70 kilometers north of Marrakech, the new city will be constructed in tandem with the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, which is designed to attract high quality candidates from around the world to produce a thriving new sociocultural “engine” for the city.
Exactly what will make the Mohammed VI Green City so green has yet to be established, though plans are underway to develop a 4km, 80 hectare corridor between this new development and Benguerir that will be planted with 50,000 trees.
Morocco’s press agency MAP reports that the megaproject will include “convenient infrastructure and an ecological space,” and will cater to the well-being, diversity and cultural and social welfare of its inhabitants.
The university will be built in two phases, according to MAP, and will include facilities for a wide range of programs crucial to the development of a healthy urban development. These include an engineering and industrial management program, green technologies and town planning, as well as sustainable development and architecture.
“This educational facility rests on different fundamentals including education, research and development, transfer of technologies, the adoption of innovative and promising projects as well as the proximity with the corporate world,” MAP reports.
Partnerships with leading engineering and science institutions in France and the United States, namely Ecole des Mines de Paris and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), lend further legitimacy to the university.
To this end, the King entered into two important agreements. The first is with the Ministry of Higher Education and Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP), which signals a budding relationship between the private education sector and what some activists caution is an unsustainable industry, and an additional agreement that outlines a working agreement between the Ecole des Mines de Paris and the OCP.
Whilst very few details have been published about the “Green City’s” specific attributes, such as what material will be used to construct the buildings and what kind of energy will be used, the project sounds much like another so-called “eco-city” in the Middle East, namely Masdar City.
Image of Morocco’s King Mohammed VI via About Middle East