BUILDING SUSTAINABLE NEW TOWNS FOR EGYPTIANS
An article on Egypt, past, present and future of housing affordability by Christian Horn · in Africa, Urbanism, URBANPLANET INFO and published on 1 October 2013 touched on Building new cities in the desert as an important issue for the future of Egypt and other desert countries.
Egypt will have an estimated population of 123 million inhabitants by 2050 . As Egypt’s population currently stands at about 82 million residents, the country will need to provide housing for 40 million more inhabitants within 40 years, an incredible challenge. The metropolis of Cairo alone currently has about 20 million inhabitants, and housing developments continue to overtake the fertile land of the Nile Delta.
A new approach towards sustainable and affordable desert towns
Older communities, such as New Gourna Village, planned by the Egyptian architect Hasan Fathy and constructed between 1945 and 1948, are big sources of inspiration on a smaller scale. Today’s fast-growing towns in some Arab countries, such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, are interesting case studies, but can hardly serve as a model taking into account their social and environmental impact. Masdar City in the United Arab Emirates, designed by the British architect Norman Foster, is an inspiring project, but built with substantial financial investments that are not available for most countries. Still, those examples should be analysed, as some ideas could be adapted to the local context, and today’s cutting-edge technology might become more accessible and affordable in the future.
One of Egypt’s important challenges is to develop a sustainable model of new desert towns for a population with limited financial means. Most of the country’s recently built housing is too expensive for a large part of the population, and the state will not be able to subsidize affordable housing in the quantities needed. Egypt will need research, innovation, planning and cooperation to develop a general model or framework, which can then be adapted to specific sites, local climates and future populations. Applying generic master plans, without tailoring them to the geographic, environmental, cultural, and social contexts of each respective location, cannot be successful.
Please read more at http://urbanplanet.info/urbanism/building-sustainable-new-towns-egyptians/