Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Geography

Committee Chair

Sarah J. Halvorson

Commitee Members

Jeffrey A. Gritzner, Laurie Yung


Production of Space, Mountains, Morocco, Vernacular Architecture, Microurbanization


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Architecture | History | Indigenous Studies | Near and Middle Eastern Studies | Remote Sensing | Spatial Science


The environmental history of the mountains in Morocco was written under the French colonial administration; and its revision upon independence was biased toward an Arabist perspective. These historical narratives significantly influence the study of contemporary spatial phenomena, typically by undermining the validity of the vernacular mode of production of space. This study (1) reviews key myths pertaining to the spatial history and transformation in mountainous areas in Morocco; and (2) analyzes the contemporary mountain settlement of Ain Mediouna, Province of Taounate in light of a revised environmental narrative. Methods include the following: (1) historical document analysis; and (2) morphogenetic analysis based on satellite imagery. The historical review indicates that the vernacular mode of production of space in the mountains of Morocco has evolved, through millennia of trial-and-error, into a sophisticated environmental planning paradigm aimed at insuring human security at the local level. The morphogenetic analysis suggests that this vernacular paradigm and its corollary mode of life are still relevant today as they continue to influence the production of space in the study site of Ain Mediouna. As such, this case study could be used to inform spatial policy and land use planning in the area. Rudimentary comparisons in different culture areas of the mountains suggest that Ain Mediouna is not an isolated case; however, more empirical research is needed to infer the generality of these observations.



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