Instinctive participation: community-initiated mechanisms for managing and maintaining urban poor settlements in Cairo, Egypt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The demand for the collective involvement of residents in managing and maintaining their urban residential areas is increasing all over the world, particularly in the developing countries. Such collective responsibility for shared urban spaces and building elements among residents was deep-rooted in the traditional urbanism of Cairo. By the early twentieth century, the distribution of responsibilities had changed radically, with the adoption of the Western-inspired maintenance and management paradigms throughout municipalities. With the deterioration of municipal services in Cairo, especially in urban poor areas, and the shortcomings associated with the top-down participatory approaches of nongovernmental organizations and community-based organizations, the search for an alternative approach is now desperately needed. This research investigates the community-driven, spontaneously initiated participatory mechanisms and tools of the urban poor in Cairo for managing and maintaining their housing built environment. For the research method, three residential settlements representing the three prevailing patterns of urban poor housing were selected in order to address three main questions: what are the practices among the urban poor for managing and maintaining their housing built environment in Cairo today?; what are the attitudes of those residents toward their shared responsibility for managing and maintaining their housing built environment?; and why do they have these attitudes? Through this research, it has been found that the local communities managed to develop self-organizing mechanisms and spontaneous tools to efficiently manage and maintain their housing built environment. On the other hand, an analysis of residents’ preferences and attitudes suggests that, in general, they neither prefer to keep taking sole responsibility for managing and maintaining their housing built environment, nor wish to leave the entire process in the hands of local authorities. Instead, they would like to share the responsibility with these authorities. The results of this research can be the base for proposing an innovative approach that recognizes instinctive community-initiated mechanisms, but which also has municipal involvement, to create a ‘localized’ conceptual approach for managing and maintaining deprived urban settlements in Cairo, as well as other potential cities in Egypt, the Arab world, and the developing countries as a whole.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-31
Number of pages31
JournalUrban Research and Practice
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Mar 17 2018

Keywords

  • Cairo
  • community participation
  • Egypt
  • self-governance
  • self-organization
  • urban management
  • urban poor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Instinctive participation: community-initiated mechanisms for managing and maintaining urban poor settlements in Cairo, Egypt'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this