Raffael Beier

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Research Fellow + PhD Student

Institute of Development Research and Development Policy
Ruhr-University Bochum
Universitaetsstr. 105, Room 2.16
44789 Bochum

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Phone: +49 (0)234 / 32-24857

Fax: +49 (0)234 / 32-14294

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Research Interest

  • Housing and Urban Development
  • Public Transport Infrastructure
  • Protest and Urban Policy
  • Urban Social Movements
  • North Africa and the Middle East

PhD Project

Shantytown Clearance in Morocco: Welfare Gains for Whom?

Morocco – following the example of a typical developing country – has experienced rapid urbanisation. Since the mid-1990s, the majority of the Moroccan population is living in cities – many of them in informal, self-built shantytowns, called bidonvilles. After the suicide bombings in the city centre of Casablanca, conducted by bidonville dwellers in 2003, the Moroccan government has re-enhanced its efforts to tackle the ‘problem’ of shantytowns by announcing the ambitious program Villes Sans Bidonvilles (VSB) (cities without shantytowns). The VSB programme aims at eradicating all Moroccan shantytowns by relocating the dwellers to mostly peripheral, but serviced plots for auto-construction. Today, the dominant modus operandi includes the house construction by a private third party Investor.

The PhD project asks in how far the welfare of affected people change because of the VSB resettlement. This will be done through an analysis of factors of satisfaction among resettled bidonvilles dwellers as well as through a comparison of the socio-economic realities of resettled dwellers and households that continue living in bidonvilles. Based on that, the research asks whether the VSB programme increases socio-economic and gender-based disparities within the relocated households as well as between relocated households, indirectly affected stakeholder groups and households that continue living in bidonvilles.

Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Matthias Kiese (RUB) and Prof. Irene van Staveren (EUR, ISS)


  • Beier, Raffael (2018): Towards a New Perspective on the Role of the City in Social Movements. Urban Policy after the 'Arab Spring'. In: City 22(2): 220-235.
  • Beier, Raffael (2018): Social Movements as Drivers of Urban Policy: The Case of the Arab Uprisings in North Africa. In: Schoch, Aline and Reto Bürgin (eds.), Urbane Widerstände – Urban Resistance. Peter Lang: Bern, pp. 63-78. (more info)
  • Beier, Raffael & Fritzsche, Jasmin (2017): Refugees and the City: UN-Habitat’s New Urban Agenda. In: Forced Migration Review 55, pp. 29-30. (full text)
  • Beier, Raffael (2017): Tunis und Casablanca - Stadtentwicklungspolitiken zwischen "Worlding" und Sozialverträglichkeit. In: inamo, Informationsprojekt Naher und Mittlerer Osten 23(89), S. 24-28. (full text)
  • Beier, Raffael (2016): Workshop Report. First Workshop of the Working Group Stadt / Raum of the Institute for Social Movement Studies: What is the "Urban" in Urban Social Movements? In: Moving the Social 56, pp. 149-154.
  • Beier, Raffael (2016): "Shifting Urban Policies in North Africa after the "Arab Spring" - Urgent Reaction or Real Changes?" (Diskussionspapiere Volkswirtschaft des Vorderen Orients, 113) Berlin: Klaus Schwarz Verlag.
  • Beier, Raffael & Vilmondes Alves, Mariana A. (2015) Die Dominanz des Quantitativen - Das Dilemma des Rechts auf angemessenen Wohnraum in Brasilien, Marokko und Südafrika. In: RaumPlanung 182/6-2015, S. 40-45.
  • Beier, R. (2012): Wohnimmobilien im Fokus von Investoren und Stadtplanern - Auswirkungen der Finanz- und Wirtschaftskrise auf den Düsseldorfer Wohnimmobilienmarkt. Hamburg.

Seminars and Conferences

  • 'De la ville vers le désert – Recasement des bidonvilles à Casablanca', Workshop du projet GELULE (Géopolitique de la lutte contre l’étalement urbain) de l’Agence Nationale de Recherche, Saint-Etienne, 31 January – 2 February.
  • 'Pictures of Contrast – Casablanca’s Tramway between Urban World-Class and the Right to the City', Workshop "Infrastructure and the Making of Urban Space: Critical Approaches", Leibniz Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO), Berlin, 21-22 September 2017
  • 'Consequences of Branding 'Slum-Free' - Experience from Casablanca', 33. Deutscher Orientalistentag (DOT), Jena, 18-22 September 2017
  • 'Starting from Zero: Social Reconfigurations and Resettlement at the Fringes of Casablanca, Morocco', RC21 Conference 'Rethinking Global Urban Justice', Leeds, 11-13 September 2017
  • 'From the City to the Sahara – Shantytown Resettlement and the Right to the City in Casablanca', 13th European Sociological Association (ESA) Conference, Athens, 29 August - 1 September 2017
  • '"The house is nice, but ..." - Shantytown Resettlement through Small-Scale Private Construction in Casablanca, Morocco', 7th European Conference on African Studies (ECAS), Basel, 29 June - 1 July 2017
  • 'Moroccan Cities without Slums? The Need to Think Beyond Housing', Guest Lecture at Netherlands Institute in Morocco (NIMAR), Rabat, 7 February 2017
  • 'Towards a New Perspective on the Role of the City in Social Movements - Urban Policy after the Arab Spring’, Annual International Conference of the Royal Geographical Society 2016, London, 30 August - 2 September 2016
  • 'Shifting Urban Policies after the Arab Spring - Urgent Reactions or Real Changes', RC21 Annual Meeting 2016, Mexico City, 21-23 July 2016
  • Der Euro-Mediterrane „Dialog“ zu Migration, Mobilität und Sicherheit: Von ‚neuen‘ Diskursen und ‚altbekannten’ Instrumenten', Geographisches Kolloquium der RWTH Aachen, Aachen, 3. Februar 2016 (zusammen mit Anja Zorob)
  • 'Urban Mobility, Resistance, and the State - The Urbanism of Urgency in North Africa', International Graduate Conference 'Move on! Mobility meets (little) resistances', Vienna, November 26-28, 2015
  • 'Die Bedeutung raumbezogener Politiken im Arabischen Frühling', Deutscher Kongress für Geographie, 'Stadt Land Schaf(f)t – Land Schaf(f)t Stadt', Berlin, 1.-6. Oktober 2015
  • 'Shifting Spatial Policies after the Arab Spring - Urgent Reactions or Real Changes?', 22nd International Conference of the German Middle East Studies Association (DAVO)& 1st Section Conference of the Islamic Studies Section of the German Oriental Society (DMG), 'The Middle East and the Islamic World in the Mirror of Humanities and Social Sciences', Bochum, 24-26 September 2015
  • 'European Migration Policy after the Arab Spring: Sticking to "Securitization" or Rising to the Challenges in the Mediterranean?', 22nd International Conference of the German Middle East Studies Association (DAVO)& 1st Section Conference of the Islamic Studies Section of the German Oriental Society (DMG), 'The Middle East and the Islamic World in the Mirror of Humanities and Social Sciences', Bochum, 24-26 September 2015 (together with Anja Zorob)
  • Participation in the Second Session of the Preparatory Committee of the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), Nairobi, 14-16 April 2015
  • 'Zwischen Prestigeprojekten und Elendsvierteln - Auswirkungen dualistischer Stadtpolitik in Marokko', 5. Bochumer Nachwuchsworkshop der Mittelmeerstudien, Zentrum für Mittelmeerstudien (ZMS), Bochum, 26.-27. Februar 2015
  • 'The European Migration Policy in the Mediterranean after the Arab Spring – Old Concepts in New Design?', 4th EUMEF Alumni Reunion Conference, 'The MENA Region in Turmoil - Causes and Ways out of the Crises', German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), Berlin, 13-15 November 2014
  • 'Slum Clearance in Morocco - Welfare Gains for Whom?', 12th Development Dialogue, 'Rethinking Democracy', ISS, The Hague, 16-17 October 2014.
  • 'Between the Global War on Terror and Local Precariousness – The U.S. Promotion of Affordable Housing Finance in Morocco', 18th International Summer School of the EU - Middle East Forum (EUMEF) of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), 'Constructive versus Destructive Engagement – Drivers and Implications of External Actors’ Policies for North Africa', Berlin, 11 - 22 August 2014
  • ‘Impact of the Eurozone Crisis on Local Housing Market and Urban Development – The Example of Düsseldorf, Germany’, RC43 Conference ‘At Home on the Housing Market’, Amsterdam, 10-12 July 2013


  • Seminar 'Urbanisation and Development' (MADM, Summer Term 2017)
  • Seminar 'Qualitative Methods' (MADM, Summer Term 2017)
  • Seminar 'Current Topics of Development Policy' (M.Sc. WiWi, Winter Term 16/17, Summer Term 2017)
  • Lecture 'Grundlagen der Wirtschaftswissenschaften' (B.Sc. Geographie, 14/15 - 15/16)

Mentoring (Master in Development Management)

  • Keneilwe, Manganya (2016): Examining Lived Experiences: Narrative Stories of Backyard Shack Dwellers in the Mohlakeng Township
  • Maqubela, Anele N. (2016): Informal Settlement Upgrading and Housing Use Values in the Republic of South Africa: Evidence from Duncan Village and Reeston
  • Siemonsen, Svenja (2015): Community Participation in Informal Settlement Improvement Projects: Exploring Stakeholder Perceptions and Factors Stimulating Community Participation in the Kenya Informal Settlements Improvement Project