Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat: Cities in the Third Millennium

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DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT


Cities Spanning the Millennia: Cairo/Alexandria

Policies for Directing Urban Growth in Greater Cairo Region: A Critical Analysis

Abdalla Abdelaziz Attia


ABSTRACT

Throughout history, Cairo and Alexandria have attracted migrants from Egypt's rural and less developed communities searching for better jobs, better income, and better livelihoods. This, however, had increased the two cities' problems. Indeed, congestion, pollution, squatter settlements and slums, breakdown in urban services are just few implications. For example, the population of Greater Cairo reached about 15 million inhabitants in year 2000, 30 percent of which live in slums. In addition, the urbanization phenomena had been decreasing agricultural land and thus risking the country's food supply. Accordingly, the last 3 decades had witnessed the preparation of many planning studies to cope with the population and urbanization problems. The main objective of the national development strategy had been to direct the urban growth of Egypt's mega cities away from the agricultural land in the Nile Valley and Delta and towards the desert areas.

Hence, the focus of this paper is Cairo. The paper attempts to critically analyse the urban development plans and policies that aimed to solve Cairo's underlying problems particularly the policies for directing the city's urbanization towards the desert areas away from the scarce agricultural lands. The paper will analyse the different studies for Cairo's development that had been carried out from the early 1970s. The aim of this paper, therefore, is to draw the lessons that could be learnt from the experience of the last 3 decades. Accordingly, the paper reviews Cairo's urban development policies for dealing with problems of unemployment, migration and the increase of inhabitants in the city, the expansion of the built area of the Greater Cairo Region, and the decrease of agricultural land. The paper will also analyze the policy for directing urban growth that was formulated in 1997.

The paper calls for the re-assessment of the national urban development policy in order to redistribute the new towns and new urban communities throughout the whole country so as to release the pressure on Greater Cairo Region from the growing urban concentration. It also highlights the need for an

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