Middle East & North Africa » Egypt

D4D Greater Cairo Propositive Analysis
  Acupuncture Mental Map Greater Cairo Metropolitan Urban Plan Metro Matrix
  Cairo is expanding at an annual pace of 4%. It is expected to reach 19 million inhabitants in the near future. Two types of land are available for that expansion: The formal new towns and the informal fertile agricultural land of the Nile Valley and Delta. The formal new towns are expensive for the average income and require a formal economy job to have access to the financial requirements. Only an established and formalized middle class can fit into these parameters. The remaining 85% of the population finds its way into the fertile Nile land. The environmental impact and degradation is substantial.

A different paradigm of growth has to be established. The formalized housing land has to be openly provided to these informal layers of income. Quantity of provision has to be multiplied. The entire area has to be given a vertebral structure by a Mass Public Transport system. Underground is not enough. The rail system asset has to be used as a commuter train. A multiplicity of centralities (up to 30) has to provide for the creation of land in small and flexible plots.

Cairo has to learn to manage informality before it can upgrade it to future formality. That has been the way throughout history and is the only way possible to confront the raz-de-marée that formality cannot serve or frame. The political situation in 2011 is a good similarity (though political and not urban) to this argument.
Cairo Bottom-Up/Top-Down integration
  Cairo Metropolitan Urban resolution Bottom up Top Down integration
  The Milano Politecnico is one of the leading Academic institutions that has understood the challenge of the urbanization explosion of the 21st C. The Department for Architecture and Planning has long been looking in these matters.

The “Cities to be tamed” conference organized by the Politecnico in Milan November 2012 (http://www.contestedspaces.info/) took as a title the same concept expressed in the subtitle of the Chess in a Tripod Method book contained in the General Documents of this webpage: “How to TAME the metropolitan explosion”.

One of the most important papers presented to that Conference was by Professor A. Contin about the application of the Method to Cairo Metropolis and more specifically about the urban dimension of the effects in a transitional area blending international, metropolitan, urban and local aspects. The necessary integration of the Bottom-Up and the Top-Down approaches for an informal housing area in Ard Al-Liwa, a very politically and culturally significant part of Cairo, especially in the aftermath of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.

The results of the workshop organized in early November 2012 by Professor Contin in Cairo together with the Cairo University, presents the capacity of integration of the Metropolitan CT approach, which addresses the requirements for growth allocation at a Metropolitan scale, with the actual needs of the urban and local neighborhood scale. In this Document, the Conference contribution, is presented the successful result of that planning urban-metropolitan integration. This is a valuable experience for other metropolis in their application of the method to address their explosive problems and the difficulties to allocate successfully land and control slums expansion.
Cairo from the Metropolitan to the Urban dimension
  Cairo Metropolitan and Urban scales integration in the Propositive Analysis Strategy
  Following the D4D Greater Cairo Propositive Analysis that addresses the metropolitan dimension (1:50.000) of Cairo and provides a framework for future expansion in a sustainable approach the Universities of Cairo and Milano Politecnico organized a workshop in which the metropolitan analysis was focus down in scale to evaluate how it would adapt to the urban dimension (1:5.000).

The area selected for the analysis was a quite complex one where an uncontrolled informal settlement, Ard Al-Liwa, takes place in the outskirts of the formal city, progressively invading valuable environmental and agricultural land of the Nile valley. The strategic location for an International centrality (linked to the airport) and the need for local social facilities for the population (only land available) did require a thorough exercise of coordination between the bottom-up and the top-down approaches: an exercise particularly difficult in the actual historical context of Cairo.

The exercise proved to be a success and both scales, metropolitan and urban were perfectly matched proving the correct vision and the efficiency of the D4D Propositive Analysis methodology for the future of Cairo and its relevance for the Cairo 2015 project debate.