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.
April 29, 2013, 5am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"[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.'”

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Published on Saturday, April 27, 2013 in The New York Times
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