Egypt’s 6th-October City

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During my school time; I had experienced many of the new urban developments in Egypt; which all share the same characteristics that later, or continuously lead to chaotic disasters.. My opinion may contradicts some ongoing phenomenon, not only in Egypt, but across most of the underdeveloped countries, including new emerging economies..

1- A Governance-Challenge.. The political pressure overwhelmingly allows the civil bureaucracy to role and subsequently marginalizes the professional resources to set proper parameters for planning, design and control.. Simply; no time can be wasted to review serious academic-literature from reliable sourced consultants, replacing them by executive summaries from top executives; who know how to “please” decision makers.. 

2- An Accreditation Challenge.. The nationalization drives enable smart graduates to enroll for “Permanent-Gov” positions that by-default require practical exposures and hands-on-the-trade capacity.. Planning is a spearheading in the misrepresentation as a process, despite the complicated reality.. Outcomes are usually “Pretty Pictures” of “Utopia-alike” urban developments; that sweeps under the carpet the serious details of ecosystems, spatial patterns, transit, social coherence, and governance.. 

3- An Epistemic Challenge.. The scientific evolution of urban planning and design had inevitably brought lots of syllabuses to any exercise; which are fair alignment to both researches and graduate degrees the “Planners” would be labeled by.. Yet, the demise between reasonable processing and exaggerated one is very fine and often breached.. Many urban challenges can be resolved by simple solutions (with legislative and executive powers) rather than complex missions, forums, conferences, etc.. 

The influx of the gated communities at 6th October city, is reflection of unspoken changed social patterns during the last 20 years; which had resulted in slow voluntarily eviction of historical high-end districts.. However, it represents a phenomenon that repeats itself across MENA cities..

City of 6th of October, as well as the Administrative Capital are reflections of planning, control and management pitfalls rather than achievements.. “Politicians” are pardoned with their accelerated search of urban solution; but “Professionals” who participate in the crime are deemed responsible for a future ethical prosecution..


By: Karim Elgendy

Strategies for Sustainable Cities
Over the past 40 years hashtagEgypt made 22 unsuccessful attempts to create new cities that would attract populations away from the overcrowded hashtagNileValley. Many of these cities remain largely vacant.
The best example of these unsuccessful attempts is the City of the 6th of October (hashtagOctober, for short), 40 kms west of Cairo’s center. Its failures may provide lessons for similar new city development in Egypt. The vision for hashtagOctober was to host 500,000 people in low income housing around an industrial zone, on a 4788 Hectares site.
But in the 1990s social housing provision gave way to capitalist pressures, and large land plots were allocated to developers (with favourable loan terms and land tax exemptions), who built exclusive hashtagGatedDevelopments for affluent Egyptians and as unoccupied second homes.
The decision to expand suburban areas (10X its original size) dramatically reduced October’s population density to 5.6% of its target. Its is currently estimated at 6 residents/ Hectare, an ultra low density that makes public transportation totally unviable. hashtagLowDensity, hashtagProximity to hashtagCairo, and hashtagsuburbanisation all insured that October is on course to merge with the megacity, while remaining inaccessible and unaffordable for the majority of population.
The city is simply no more.

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