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A Park in Cairo Leads to Renewal & Development

A former dumping ground in Cairo becomes a park.

A former dumping ground in Cairo becomes a park.

The story of Al-Azhar Park in Cairo, Egypt offers an interesting case study into how improving quality of life through parks  and green spaces can lead to positive impacts in cultural and community development. Back in the mid-1990s, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture started construction on turning a derelict space in the middle of one of the densest and most open space deprived cities in the world into a central public space. From the Trust’s overview of the project (pdf):

…..the city was confronted by the array of contemporary development challenges faced by many cities, not least population pressures, a decline in the quality of housing and the attendant problems these conditions create…….. It was clear that Cairo needed more green space. One study found that the amount of green space per inhabitant was roughly equivalent to the size of a footprint. It is one of the lowest proportions in the world.

It was on the occasion of the conference that His Highness the Aga Khan announced his decision to finance the creation of a park for the citizens of the Egyptian capital. The only central location which was of suitable scale and which lent itself to rehabilitation was the derelict Darassa site, a 30-hectare (74 acre), 500-year-old mound of rubble in the inner city.

The now-completed park has spurred reinvestment in housing and buildings in the surrounding neighborhood, and is now considered a key cultural and public space in the city. The project has shown how well such places can contribute to an improved quality of life, especially in the developing world where urban greening has not been a priority in many places. The PBS series E-squared produced a whole episode on the park. (A video podcast and trailer of the episode can be seen here.)

9 Responses

  1. Good post! It’s nice to see international big cities investing in signature parks.

  2. This is really fantastic…the transformation is amazing and the need for such a place was/is clearly evident. Thanks for sharing this as I probably would not have heard about it otherwise.

  3. […] the full story of this transformation, check out this fantastic post from City Parks Blog, complete with links to a PBS video. One estimate cited in the project overview found that the […]

  4. […] the full story of this transformation, check out this fantastic post from City Parks Blog, complete with links to a PBS video. One estimate cited in the project overview found that the […]

  5. […] the full story of this transformation, check out this fantastic post from City Parks Blog, complete with links to a PBS video. One estimate cited in the project overview found that the […]

  6. […] The PBS series E2 has devoted an entire episode to the project. A podcast and trailer can be found on their website. Lots of other interesting short segments about green architecture and planning initiatives in that podcast series. (via City Parks Blog) […]

  7. […] short segments about green architecture and planning initiatives in that podcast series. (via City Parks Blog) This entry was written by freshkillspark and posted on March 11, 2009 at 2:55 pm and filed […]

  8. Environment and lab our Minister Ganesh Naik orders the rehabilitation of street vendors.

    Labour and Enviornment Minsiter Ganesh Naik have ordered the proper rehabilitation of an estimation of estimated hawkers who have been displaced by the ongoing work of Sanpada-Palm Beach Flyover.

    Among those who have lost their means of livelihood were vegetable vendors and some women’s self help groups. On 10 January, they went with their grievances to labour minister Ganesh Naik immediately directed NMMC that the affected persons be provided …………………..

    http://navimumbai-ganeshjinaik.blogspot.com/2009/03/environment-and-lab-our-minister-ganesh.html

    http://navimumbai-ganeshjinaik.blogspot.com

    http://www.ganeshnaik.com

  9. […] covered the creation and revitalization of the Al Azhar Park. The article raises the question: in a city as dense as Cairo, how can public space be provided […]

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