Photos by Joep Jacobs and Boudewijn Bollmann
Baiba Soma and Romain Laval
Sand is found along the 3,500 kilometres of Moroccan coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, making up the seabed, the beach and the dunes. The coastline as natural capital is a key asset to the country’s economy, where tourism besides other economic sectors relies on natural ecosystems.
In 2001, King Mohammed VI set forth a plan called Vision 2010 which involved a massive reorganisation of the government’s priorities, building six new seaside resorts and mobilising of the skills of people to prepare for the welcoming of more than twice the number of tourists by 2010, estimated to reach 9.28 million. After partially accomplishing its goals, a new plan called Vision 2020 was drawn up, which aimed to attract 20 million visitors and to expand hotel bed capacity to 375,000, all by the end of the decade. Ironically, this economic strategy identified sand as a tourist attraction while relying heavily on sand as a resource as a main component for construction.
Sand has been the subject of appropriation by the various sectors in Morocco such as environmental protection, equipment and transport, urban planning, tourism. Up until the end of 2014, the absence of a legislative framework protecting the Moroccan coastline as well as traditional measures for evaluating economic performance, such as produced and human capital, have often neglected the natural capital.
Since 2015, the Moroccan coastline is a physically definable zone by law: a space that extends over 100 meters on land beyond the highest sea, and 12 miles at sea; a zone that is now subject to legal texts, giving it a certain protection. In spite of this legislative framework, no managing entity for the coastline is defined. Instead, the Moroccan coastline is defined according to the needs of various sectors whose common denominator is sand.
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Baiba Soma is a Latvian designer based in Amsterdam. She graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven in Well-being, 2019. She is interested in human behaviour as it impacts their surroundings, using research as the basis for a design process. Romain Laval graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2019. In his practice he focuses on materials and visual media, in dialogue with tangible components.