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WOUNDED SPACES: WHEN PLANNING DEGRADED CAIRO’S URBAN MEMORY

Abstract
By : Gehan Selim

 
This paper examines the position of planning practices operated under precise guidelines for displaying modernity. Cultivating the spatial qualities of Cairo since the 1970s has unveiled centralised ideologies and systems of governance and economic incentives. I present a discussion of the wounds that result from the inadequate upgrading ventures in Cairo, which I argue, created scars as enduring evidence of unattainable planning methods and processes that undermined its locales. In this process, the paper focuses on the consequences of eviction rather than the planning methods in one of the city’s traditional districts. Empirical work is based on interdisciplinary research, public media reports and archival maps that document actions and procedures put in place to alter the visual, urban, and demographic characteristics of Cairo’s older neighbourhoods against a backdrop of decay to shift towards a global spectacular. The paper builds a conversation about the power and fate these spaces were subject to during hostile transformations that ended with their being disused. Their existence became associated with sores on the souls of its ex-inhabitants, as outward signs of inward scars showcasing a lack of equality and social justice in a context where it was much needed.
Keywords: Wounded Spaces, Scars, Cairo, Bulaq, Slums, Urban Renewal, Memory.

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