Enterprise or Chaos? Cairo's DIY Urbanism

Michael Kimmelman examines the race to rebuild and redefine post-revolutionary Cairo, where residents are recreating the city and civic society, and reclaiming public spaces, from the bottom-up.

"[S]ince the revolution, the pace of illegal construction has only exploded, like so much else [in Cairo]." observes Kimmelman. "Along with the spread of graffiti and of street vendors clogging the sidewalks downtown, this explosion is either a sign of post-revolutionary populist empowerment or of chaos, depending on one’s perspective. Egyptians seem to be wrestling over which every day."

"As Omar Nagati, a young Egyptian architect and planner, put it the other day: 'This was always a revolution about unjust urban conditions and about public space. The ramp is just one example. People now realize they have the right to determine what happens on their own streets, to their own neighborhoods. So there’s a battle of ownership throughout Egypt: over whose space this is, and who determines whose space it is.'”

Full Story: Who Rules the Street in Cairo? The Residents Who Build It

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
Book cover of Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $50.
$369 includes free shipping!
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."
$19.95