Guarding Presence: Absent Owners and the Labour of Managing Vacancy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


This chapter explores housing whose vacancy is purposeful and cyclical – namely, second homes. Since the early 2000’s Moroccan authorities have offered several versions of incentive programs for ordinary citizens to purchase single family apartments. Yet initial fieldwork around Tangier indicates that many of these sub-development units have been bought as second residences, vacation properties, or speculative investments by both domestic and diasporic Moroccans. Despite the political intention for these complexes to become inhabited, slum-relief housing, some portion are only periodically used, and therefore lying vacant while awaiting the return of the owner. The proliferation of housing complexes built as communities, but sold as investments, brings into relief how forms of guardianship fill the temporary vacancies left by mobile owners. With a complex history of property regulation and a strategic geopolitical and touristic position, Tangier provides both a unique and archetypical case for thinking about how property owners actively – or not – manage their property to keep it ‘filled’ in their absence.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe New Urban Ruins
Subtitle of host publicationVacancy Urban Politics and International Experiments in the Post-Crisis City
EditorsCian O'Callaghan, Cesare Di Feliciantonio
PublisherPolicy Press
ISBN (Electronic)978-1447356905
ISBN (Print)978-1447356875
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

Publication series

SeriesUrban Policy, Planning and the Built Environment

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