Location: Marrakech, Morocco
Motorway Picnic: a research and development project in Marrakech, Morocco exploring emerging community use of alternative public spaces.
Public space, and the way we use it, is essential to how we live as communities in urban environments. It is a space for everyone to use, and in most cities, has limited restrictions or guidance on how this should be done.
In the UK urban public spaces are vast, frequent and varied. We have the luxury of extensive green space, high quality civic squares and everything in between - yet we don't use this to its full potential. This series explores how these important locations are used in other urban cultures, and what types of spaces are chosen as sites.
A visit to Marrakech in Morocco showed us how small pockets of, what in a British urban context would be described as fringes, edges or forgotten spaces, can be maximised for exciting and vibrant communal uses.
There, due to limited formal parks as well as congested pedestrianised areas, small slithers of green space, such as verges next to highly trafficked roads, are taken over for civic use. Strips of grass next to dual carriage ways, or insignificant spots of landscaping at a new shopping mall, are cleverly re-appropriated by families and friends.
Picnics are everywhere, and are key to how these spaces are re-interpreted by the community. Sharing food and gathering together in these unusual sites, despite juxtaposing exhaust fumes next to curated borders, is a unique way to reclaim space as a community. Marrakech uses every possible type of public space to enrich its civic life. Sitting and sharing food creates a new dynamic that opens up the discussion around how these 'fringe' sites could be viewed.