Type: urban re-design

Recognition: to be published in the UD publication line 2015

Role: Urban Design researcher and Consultant at the GIZ PDP Cairo

Location: Ezbet El Nasr, Cairo, Egypt

End format: 200+ page book


In trying to be correct, we substitute the word 'slum' for 'informal' but aren't we like that also taking our responsibility away? Aren't we like that romanticizing what shouldn't have happened in the first place? Statistics surrounding the death rates, medical problems and education level are shocking.
If it is not informal (a word that in itself makes us long for it - the action of informality, the act of breaking free from the formal system), and not a slum (because of all the stigma surrounding this word) then what is it? Maybe it is a displacement? Displacement of responsibility, displacement of solutions, and most of all displacement of a population and its reality.

Out of Cairo’s 17 million inhabitants, 65% or approximately 11 million people live in informal settlements. Between 2004 and 2009, 75% of newly born Cairenes were registered in informal settlements (Sims, 2010). Yet the basics, the codes, the tools and most important the needs used to house most of Cairo residents have never been understood.

Will planners always be re-acting to the “informal” phenomenon with post-building tools of amendment? Is there a way to understand and guide the growth of Cairo’s informal settlements? How can we understand the basics of the process to successfully alter it? By uncovering housing processes and its effect on space in Ezbet El Nasr (EEN), an area that is officially recognized as informal, I made an attempt to comprehend the logic behind the decision-making process, this has led  me to uncover of what I have come to term as Street Neighborhood.

Through this research, and while using the existing principles that the informal sector has managed to create, an approach that enables guided growth in Cairo was designed and suggested for further implementation.




2014 - 2015







Special thanks go to the following institutes for offering support in the research:


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