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Current urban policies and practices in Egypt:Informal settlements and new urban developments

When: Tuesday, 18 February 2020 - Tuesday, 18 February 2020
Where: Braamfontein Campus East
First Floor Seminar Room, John Moffat Building
Start time:16:00

Hassan Abdelaziz Elmouelhi from the Technical University of Berlin will present this seminar.

In Cairo, like in many metropolises in the Global South, informal settlements or ‘ashwa’eyat (meaning haphazard) are the product of rapid uncontrolled urbanisation in recent decades. Cairo’s ‘ashwa’eyat, largely ignored by the former neoliberal state regime, are frequently the only option for the rural migrants and the Cairo urban poor to fulfill their housing needs. Since informal urban processes are strongly influenced and shaped by the residents, it is paramount to study their culture in relation to informality and urban space. Culture is the complex set of values and controlling mechanisms that govern behaviours. Dismantling culture is a key for resolving its complexity. One of the main questions to discuss is: how do different cultural factors interact with the urban physical characteristics to influence Cairo’s ‘ashwa’eyat development to form “informality”? This seminar will briefly try to contextualize an ongoing process adopted by the Egyptian state to address development, and specifically urban development, within the framework of neoliberalism, as indispensable from politics, and power, based on the case of the Cairo New Administrative Capital (NAC). 

Elmouelhi is an architect and urban planner by training and works as a senior researcher and lecturer at Berlin Technical University. His academic interests within international urbanism include, culture and urban informality in relation to aspects of urban development and governance, focusing on the Arab region. In partnership with several universities, and international cooperation organizations, he coordinates and acts as a principle investigator for several projects in different interdisciplinary topics, mainly informal urbanism, urban management, urban mobility, new settlements, in addition to the localizing of SDGs. He holds a PhD from TU Berlin, entitled: “Culture and informal urban development: A case study of Cairo’s informal settlements”. He participated as an expert and consultant in activities related to the global south urbanism, including Germany, Tunisia, Tanzania, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine and India.   

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