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Abstract

Globalization implies profound changes in territories that involve the emergence of major urban renewal projects. It has the effect of increasing competition between metropolises. In order to make a place for themselves in this increasingly competitive global context, cities are seeking to attract these material and immaterial flows to their territories. The various stakeholders in the metropolitan area then implement a set of measures or strategies, more or less coordinated, to enhance the attractiveness of their territory. Major urban renewal projects are one of the most iconic examples of such strategies. Neo-liberalism, the political and economic counterpart of globalization, is considered as a homogeneous process that is spread across the globe in an identical manner. This comparative meso-scale analysis between Casablanca and Geneva of the role and interactions between stakeholders aims to reveal the similarities and differences between the deployment of this neoliberalization process in the two studied contexts. This thesis is based on the idea, which is increasingly prevalent in the academic literature, that neoliberalism does not allow a precise reading of the processes at work and that it is ontologically parasitized by social, political and economic specificities of each context. Starting from the initiation phase of the projects up to their development, we reconstruct through this work their genealogies for comparative purposes. We compare them through the two lenses of market logics and local resistances which, in a certain way, are in conflict with each other’s. By working on Geneva and Casablanca, two contexts that are remarkably different, we aim to demonstrate that market logics are at the heart of standardization processes but, simultaneously, processes of heterogenization based on contextual specificities are taking place. Finally, does globalization imply that these processes of urban construction, through the neoliberal injunction that underlies them, are identical in different political and socio-economic contexts? What is the reason for the homogenizing effect of these projects and how does the local context contribute to giving them their own identity? It is these central questions that this thesis attempts to answer.

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