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Title: Remaking urban spaces in Egypt : a study of Bulaq Abul Ela planning schemes 1960-2005
Author: Selim, Gehan Mohammad Elsayed
ISNI:       0000 0004 2722 141X
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis examines the shifting politics of remaking the urban experience in post-colonial Cairo, through investigating the account of remaking an old historical district, namely, Bulaq Abul Ela. It examines the extent to which planning approaches and ambitions to improve the quality of the built environment have achieved their objectives and attended to people's changing needs. To achieve this aim, critical analysis of the chronological development of the remaking process, planning institutions and legislation in Egypt has been undertaken in the context of three re-planning schemes for Bulaq, drafted between 1966 and 2005. Understanding spatial quality, in this context, indicates an intersection between two realms: spatial settings and social needs, which both influence the process of space reproduction in Cairo. The schemes are investigated on two levels; first, there is a careful study of the planning institution's ambitions for improving Bulaq's spatial qualities; second, there is critical analysis of how such visions were imposed on the schemes, and how this affected their credibility in terms of improving the district. Through each scheme, the district's conditions, approved re-planning actions, proposed physical attributes and land uses will be discussed and analyzed. The study is based on detailed accounts of original reports, meetings, decrees, correspondents' archives, interviews and fieldwork that took place between 2008 and 2009, and has relied on original documents from various planning institutions, and local newspapers in Egypt. The investigated schemes revealed a consistent clarity of the planning institution's visions towards remaking old districts, but alongside this, there is evidence of a lack of coherent processes in planning and of implementing these visions. Not only was there an apparent conflict between the planning institution's underlying objectives towards re-planning Bulaq, and people's needs, but within the planning institution itself there was a lack of reliability and consistency in performing its role, in which respect it was impeded by the absence of an effective legislative framework to guide planning practices in Egypt. The study revealed that Bulaq's spatial qualities are grounded in the historical authenticity of the district, its physical attributes, and the vibrant mix of activities and land usage practised in Bulaq's urban spaces. Thus, investigating Bulaq re-planning schemes has allowed the research to find new meanings, images, stories, and places to replace the increasingly undesirable authentic fabric of the district. Against this background, continuous dialogue for participation, shared commitments, and flexible planning approaches, have emerged as necessary and, indeed, the only tools through which improvement of the built environment and creation of a successful remaking project may be achieved.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available