Microsoft word - sustainable cities in egypt.doc
The Egyptian Cabinet
Information and Decision Support Center
Center for Future Studies
Sustainable Cities in Egypt
Learning from Experience: Potentials
and Preconditions for New Cities in
Dr. Nisreen El-Lahham
Dr. Waleed Hussen
Sustainable Cities in Egypt
On its way to further development, the Arab Republic of Egypt faces enormous
challenges with regards to human settlements and the improvement of living conditions
for its people and future generations. Some of these challenges are shared by many
other countries, but some of them are specific for Egypt. Like cities in many other
countries which follow traditional policies, Egyptian cities are increasingly getting
overwhelmed by social, economic, ecological, and cultural problems like rising
unemployment, lack of water supply, shortage of available housing, inadequate
mobility and chaotic traffic, air pollution, insufficient service infrastructure, etc. Many
citizens in Egyptian cities and communities are living under this kind of deficient,
unhealthy and unsustainable conditions.
Because of these and other challenges as well as upcoming problems, IDSC has started
the project VISION EGYPT 2030. As part of this endeavor the project documented here
deals with the potentials and opportunities to build new cities in desert areas. This goal
expresses a long-standing desire of the Egyptian people to utilize the vast areas of its
There are several systemic and specific reasons for this underdevelopment; among them
are high birth-rates, regionally uneven living conditions, land-city-migration, etc. These
cumulating problems cannot be solved with old policies and traditional strategies; they
are caused and accelerated by some old approaches and policies. Past experience with
development policies in most countries on this planet has shown that they are not
capable of dealing with the most important issues for the people and their future.
Therefore a new basic approach has been created and has further evolved among experts
and innovative decision makers during the last decade: SUSTAINABLE
DEVELOPMENT. Since the Egyptian people deserve the best available and affordable
policies, this project is based on that future-oriented approach, specifying it for city
development in Egypt. In general, the principles of sustainability make it possible for
Egypt to reconsider development, to withdraw from Western style models and to
identify authentic visions and paths for a more adequate development – whereby
circumventing many of the problems that western societies have to struggle with.
Countries are now trying to use this approach and realize real progress for people. Also
in Egypt many examples of courageous decision-makers and citizens who started
activities in that promising and necessary direction can be found. Many papers have
been written too. Therefore this project intends to present some of the interesting cases,
to focus on the "lessons learned" and to come up with a general orientation about that
issue field and with a spectrum of helpful suggestions.
Egypt seems to have a special potential for another kind of solution, since only 4-6% of
Egypt's area is inhabited and cultivated. Yet, over the past 50 years successive plans
have failed to utilize vast desert areas. To deal with this multitude and quality of
problems and circumstances, new realistic and comprehensive strategies have to be used
in order to develop the existing cities and create new cities in the unexploited desert. All
Sustainable Cities in Egypt
experiences show that new adequate management and policies (sustainable governance) are needed and that they are the only promising solution. For the realization of the different strategies and options for Sustainable cities in desert areas, a huge amount of material and non-material resources and management can be utilized. Therefore, the development options have to be comprehensively and carefully studied with regards to the criteria for Sustainable Development, and the necessary preconditions have to be specified. Before allocating huge budgets for that purpose, these proposals have to be scrutinized in one comprehensive study, which would then serve as a save foundation for selecting and realizing the most appropriate development axis, and developing more and more sustainable cities in Egypt – in desert areas or in the traditional settlement areas. The project aims at creating a criteria system for Egyptian Sustainable Cities in desert areas. This has been done mainly to assess preconditions, prerequisites and options for Egypt for introducing Sustainable Cities in desert areas. Due to the complexity of the issues involved, this report can only be another step to clarify the situation and define the possibilities.
"The environmental future of the planet is closely linked to the management of our cities, towns and
villages. …The relationship between the environment and human settlements is like the proverbial
chicken and egg paradox. Good environmental governance requires good urban governance and vice
versa." Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, Director UN-Habitat
The main insights and results of this project are the following:
The challenges for human settlements and improved living conditions today and in the future are immensely big and complicated. After having analyzed many examples and projects in many countries, it is clear that the traditional styles of policy-making and governance are not able to cope with those challenges. Instead, what is needed is a more innovative and open process and development with an inter-departmental and participatory approach. Reality proves that such a new governance style is successful. Sustainable Development is now becoming the basic concept for solving problems, meeting the acute and systemic challenges and improving the living conditions of people – without neglecting the needs and life chances of our children and future generations. Only such a holistic approach can achieve realistic solutions and substantial and equally distributed improvements. The many examples described in this study may give inspiration for concrete action. With regards to human settlements in desert areas, all experiences show that there are usually many push-factors (motivating people to leave their old places), yet there seems to be no or very few pull-factors existing (motivating people to move into desert areas). Social sciences know that there are manifold reasons for people to move into desert areas, most of which are only shared by a little share of the whole population. In order to motivate huge numbers of people to move into desert areas, additional efforts have to be made and special incentives have to be created and offered. Incentives and other
Sustainable Cities in Egypt
activities have to carefully target specific groups of the society in order to become
Because of the still too high birth-rate in Egypt and the huge numbers of new citizens
entering the society every day, there seems to be no possibility to resolve the
demographic challenge with new cities in desert areas. The costs per person are too
high, many social and cultural uncertainties are left open, and environmental effects
could be enormously negative (especially concerning water supply). Most of the
problems that people believe that desert areas will solve can not be solved by new cities
From the perspective of cost-efficiency, it seems that investing money into reduction of
birth-rate will be much more efficient than investing into the quantitatively and
qualitatively growing demands of increasing population. To a certain degree, even today
the demographic trends consume big parts of each new infrastructure investment in
Based on the study of many cases and examples and based on the ambitious guiding
principles of Sustainability, it seems clear that the only feasible and very special
purpose for building new cities in desert areas is to create model cities for special
reasons, for instance to prove that SD cities can be build even in such a challenging
environment. Such cities could be planned with adequate participation of its potential
future citizens, based on a broad spectrum of expertise – including cultural and social
aspects. The potentials of people are much bigger then experts often think – if invited to
an open and fair creation process.
OVERVIEW: MAIN ELEMENTS OF THE PROJECT
(UN, World Bank etc.)
(Articles, studies, etc.)
Sustainable Cities in Egypt
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Introduction. 6
2 Status Quo and Trends – Crises and Challenges . 8
2.1 Demographic and Migration to cities – Push Factors . 8
2.2 The New Concept of Development Corridors .16
2.3 Centralization and Decentralization in Egypt.16
2.4 The Challenge of Climate Change.19
3. The Future-oriented Solution: Sustainable Development.21
3.1 Sustainable Development - Definitions and Background.21
3.2 Sustainable development in Arab countries .21
3.3 Sustainable Cities .24
3.4 The Desert and Its Potentials .24
3.4.1 The Hot Deserts .26
3.4.2 Resources in Desert Areas.27
3.4.3 Human Life in Deserts in Egypt .28
3.5. Insights from Australian Desert Development Efforts.29
3.6 Egyptian Deserts As a new Location for Sustainable Cities .31
3.6.1 Western Desert .32
3.6.2 Eastern Desert.33
3.7 Situation and Experience of New Communities in Egyptian Deserts .34
3.7.1 Types of new cities in Egypt.34
3.7.2 Migration Motives – Example Toshka Project .35
3.7.3 Analyzing the Egyptian experience of constructing new urban cities in
3.7.4 Lessons learnt from the Egyptian experience .39
3.8 Lessons learned .41
4 City Development Strategies .44
4.1 City Development Strategies in Egypt .44
4.2 City Development Strategies.45
4.2.1 The Comprehensive Development for the City of Luxor Project .45
4.3 City Development Strategies around the World - Examples.49
4.3.1 Example of Eco-City of Yazd in Iran.49
4.3.2 Sustainable Development in a Desert Climate in Phoenix- Arizona .54
4.4 Lessons Learned for Egypt .56
4.4.1 Lessons from Luxor & Ismailia.56
4.4.2 Lessons from Yazd and Phoenix .58
4.5 Arab Experiences of Sustainable Cities Activities .58
4.5.1 Constraints for sustainable development in the Arab Countries .58
4.5.2 Challenges and opportunities: .59
4.7 Decision-making process in Egypt and Degrees of Local Autonomy.67
Local Sustainable Development Activities – European Examples .69
4.7.1 Managing Urban Europe-25 .69
4.7.2 Renewable energies: "fifty-fifty-concept" . 69
4.7.4 Participatory Budget or Citizens Budget .72
4.7.5 Local Agenda 21 Berlin.73
5 Sustainable Cities – International Experiences .76
Sustainable Cities in Egypt
5.1 Main Issues Should be Considered in Sustainable Cities.76
5.1.1 Energy for the Sustainable City .76
5.2 Experiences from other Countries .90
5.2.1 Environment -UAE: Coming Up – MASDAR World's First 'Zero-
Usage Dimension. 91
Economic Dimension .92
5.2.2 Dongtan Eco-city (Shanghai )— The World's First Sustainable City .92
5.2.3 Austin As a sustainable city .94
5.2.4 Chicago as a sustainable city .97
6 Criteria-Model for Sustainable Egyptian Cities . 100
6.1 Definition set for Sustainable Cities. 101
6.2 Sustainable Cities for Egypt - A Criteria Model . 102
Attachment 1: References and selected literature . 107
Attachment 2: Interviews were conducted with the following experts. 111
Sustainable Cities in Egypt
The project aimed at Creating a Criteria-Model for an Egyptian Sustainable
City, especially for desert areas– based on the "Future Vision for Egypt 2030" and real
experiences from national and foreign projects. The main focus is to analyze and assess
the possibilities and the prerequisites for re-sketching the geo-economic map of Egypt
in a way that would develop and cultivate new areas beyond the old valley. Potentials in
such areas would have to be efficiently exploited and utilized in sustainable ways (i.e.
water resources, raw materials, new sources and forms of energy).
These development zones – future sites for new cities – must be carefully
selected on the basis of the principles of Sustainability, i.e. balancing economic development, environment, and community aspects, and taking into account the needs of future generations. This cautious and studied development is to create sustainable cities by taking steps to maintain their healthiness over the long term with fine living standards.
The project also aims at supporting the development of more adequate and
effective governance on the local levels, to give impulses to various institutions and actors for a "Sustainable Governance", orchestrating the improvement of imminent living conditions and policy-making. It is intended to support the ambitious project of a national sustainable development in Egypt, as acted upon by the Sustainable Development-Council of Egypt with its national strategy. The project has produced a criteria system and recommendations for Sustainable Development in Egyptian cities which could be used as a benchmark for development of Egyptian cities and communities in general. According to several experts, there exists a golden opportunity nowadays to follow an innovative development approach like Sustainability. For instance, the World Bank senses a reform momentum in this regards based on the following observations:
• "For the first time in decades, the prohibition of urban expansion on any
agricultural land is being questioned.
• Reform of the housing sector, particularly the introduction of market-oriented
mortgage finance system, has also begun.
• A National Housing Program (NHP) for low-income groups announced in 2005,
is a significant shift from former practices.
• Urban planning approaches are being modified (less top-down and more
• Ministry of Housing has introduced the concepts of core housing and sites and
services to its mix of housing products.
• Upgrading of informal and squatter areas has begun to move away from simply
providing lacking infrastructure to encompassing citizen participation, social development, and local economic development.
• Concept of cost recovery in major urban projects is beginning to be applied, as
evidenced by the Alexandria Development Project (recouping the loan amount from land sale proceeds under the project)." (World Bank 2008)
Sustainable Cities in Egypt
This report starts with this introduction and continues with a chapter about some of the basic challenges with regards to human settlements in Egypt, namely demographic trends and development policies. In the third chapter, the concept of Sustainable Development is described as the best future-oriented solution for the challenges. Specifics of Sustainable Cities as well as desert areas as places for settlements are discussed. Chapter four is mainly based on experience with Sustainability activities on the local level from Egypt and several other countries, whereby focus is given to "lessons learned". The cases range from city development strategies to single approaches. In chapter five, additional examples with special attention to good examples of Sustainable Cities strategies are introduced and discussed. Here the main policy areas (like energy, transport, waste management) and model cities from other countries with their economic, ecological, social dimensions are explained. Based on this broad range of experiences chapter six offers definitions, a criteria model and success factors for Sustainable Cities in Egypt. This is meant to be used as an invitation for further consideration and adaption. Last but not least, the project team would like to thank all experts who contributed to the project and this report, especially through bilateral interviews (see attachment).
Sustainable Cities in Egypt
2 Status Quo and Trends – Crises and Challenges
2.1 Demographic and Migration to cities – Push Factors
A basic problem for human settlements in developing countries like Egypt is that the
population growth rate is faster than the rate of developing infrastructure and services
for the people, while the growth rate of productivity is lower. Many people believe that
the major cities are the most attractive places to work and live in, they have expectations
and hopes for themselves and their children regarding improvement and opportunities.
Accordingly, the Egyptian urban system is suffering from the primacy problem of rural-
urban population transfer that negatively affects the distribution of resources and
investments, and hence, the national development policy.
The urban population in Egypt is not evenly distributed among the 219 cities, in which
they live; Egypt's two primary cities Cairo and Alexandria comprise 43 percent of the
total urban population (17 percent of the total population of Egypt) while 77 cities
comprise 4 percent of the urban population1. Regional disparities and urban primacy are
associated with social ills and economic problems, such as unemployment, poverty,
environmental degradation, and denying marginalized sub-populations access to power
and wealth. It is also often equated with poor utilization of national resources,
ruralization of urban areas, and excessive growth rates of villages without provision of
adequate infrastructures and social services.
An important base for thinking beyond traditional approaches for urban development in
Egypt is the latest report entitled "The Strategic Urban Development Master Plan Study
for Sustainable Development of the Greater Cairo Region in The Arab Republic of
Egypt" (JICA 2008). Within this JICA-GOPP-project, a SWOT analysis was carried out
based on the existing conditions to achieve the objectives such as favorable
environment for living, economic activities, and natural resources needed to sustain an
The main challenges and assets are the:
Over concentration on main agglomeration: rectifying population
concentration on the main agglomeration by promoting growth of new urban communities and efficient land use of existing build-up areas.
Insufficient lands for business activities: encouraging provisions of
competitive lands for new business activities so as to enhance economic activities. Reduce unemployment rate, and improve household income.
Better management of natural and cultural resources: effective management
of existing resources by controlling urban growth and improving protection of existing natural and cultural assets.
1 General Organization for Physical Planning, Development and Construction Map for Egypt 2017, June 1998.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt
Imperfect Living environment: improving living environment by dissolving
mismatched land uses, providing public transportation and offering affordable housing for various income groups." (JICA 2008)
An Egyptian expert expresses the following assessment, pointing at management and governance: "The main problem of managing the growth of Cairo Metropolitan Region in the era of global economy is not the lack of attention, expertise or resources, but the inability to translate widespread public frustration with existing conditions into the political pressure necessary to compel the state to manage the metropolis effectively. A state response to any pressure that does evolve, however, can not be based on past practices, for they have not been useful, and will only lead to a continuation of rising social and environmental costs." (El-Batran 2002, p.8) During the last years, the urgency of some of these problems has increased and state institutions developed new approaches and strategies. Most important for the topic of this study is the new strategy formulated in the "Integrated Urban Development Strategy" as part of the Greater Cairo Region 2050 Strategic Plan. One of its basic strategies is "Opening new urban development paths and establishing new settlements on desert land". In a similar direction, a World Bank report stated: "Egypt is facing a daunting urban challenge. In the next fifteen years, Egypt's population is expected to increase by 27 million inhabitants to reach over 100 million. Most of this increase will occur within urban areas and in the "urban villages" within urban agglomerations. Accommodating this huge population increase in such a short period of time is a major challenge for the Government. Urban economies will need to generate a large share of the approximately 700,000 jobs needed for new entrants to the labor market each year, especially for limited income groups. New urban dwellers will also need access to affordable housing, and the GOE will need to deliver related urban infrastructure and public services. It is estimated that 300,000-400,000 housing units are needed annually for the coming 15 years, two-thirds of which are for limited income households. In addition, a majority of Egypt's existing urban population is of limited income and suffers from a lack of appropriate urban services, high levels of unemployment, and inadequate and crowded housing. Over 16 million urban inhabitants live today in informal and squatter settlements." (World Bank 2008a, p.viii)
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 10
Figure 1: Projections of Egypt's Urban and Rural Population (2005-2025)
Projections of Egypt's Urban and Rural
(Source: United Nations Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2003.1 )
The 1996 census defined 57 percent of Egypt's population as rural ( people living in agricultural areas in the Nile Valley and Delta, as well as persons living in desert areas).2 For all countries, the demographic changes including its social structure are essential: "Egypt's total population was 72.5 million at the time of the 2006 Census and is estimated to be growing by 2.03% per annum,3 which is substantial yet below that of some other countries in the MENA region.4 The rate of growth has slowed, especially from the 1960s and 1970s when it then peaked at 2.8% per year. Total fertility has also fallen from 7.2 child per female in the 1960s to 3.4 child per female in 1998. However, regional differences are significant, with total fertility in rural Upper Egypt estimated at above 4.5 child per female. What is certain is that – even if overall fertility continues to fall – the momentum of higher birthrates from earlier decades will continue to work through the population pyramid, producing a large portion of females of childbearing age.5 This large proportion of women of child bearing age will in turn contribute to higher numbers of live births, even if total fertility continues to decline. For these reasons projections of Egypt's future population can widely vary.6" (World Bank 2008a, p.3)
1 Quoted after World Bank 2008a, p.9 2 Middleton N, Thomas D, Eds. (1997) World Atlas of Desertification (United Nations Environment Programme, ed. 2).
3 CAPMAS, 2006. The 72.5 million refers to the population resident in Egypt. CAPMAS estimates that there were an additional 3 million Egyptians residents abroad in 2006.
4 It is interesting to note that average annual population natural increase rates of the Arab Maghrab countries cluster is around 1.5%, whereas that for the Arab Mushraq cluster is around 2.8%.
5 The share of women within the age of fertility (age 15-49) was 23.1% of the total population in 1986 and increased to 25.7% in 1996. This number is expected to rise to 26.5% of the total by 2025. (Khalifa, 2000)
6 See for example Khalifa, M., DaVanzo, J., and Adamson, D., (2000); "Population Growth in Egypt: A Continuing Policy Challenge", Issue Paper #183, Center for Middle East Public Policy.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 11
Table 1: Construction and buildings, New Cities 2006
Number of new cities
Housing units (youth housing)
No. of land plots allocated for household housing
No. of cities and villages with endorsed urban boundaries
(Source: IDSC Description by Information 2007 Vol. I, p.19) As was mentioned above from a World Bank report (2008a), it is estimated that an average of 300,000-400,000 housing units will need to be built annually for the coming 15 years, of which two-thirds are to be allocated for limited income households. Compared to the construction and buildings in new cities (see Table 1), this is only covering a little share of that need. As the same World Bank report mentions, an important affirmation of Egypt's desert development imperative was articulated by President Mubarak in an address given to both houses of Parliament in 1996. After announcing the start of the Toshka mega land reclamation project, the President declared: "Leaving the narrow (Nile) valley and fanning out, in a planned and organized manner, throughout the country, has become an unavoidable necessity. In view of these facts, the conquest of the desert is no longer a slogan or dream but a necessity dictated by the spiraling population growth. What is required is not a token exodus into the desert but a complete reconsideration of the distribution of population throughout the country."21
"Within a year of this presidential speech, MHUUD produced the National Spatial Strategy which received wide media coverage. It aimed to redraw the population map of Egypt by marshalling huge investment funds to develop land reclamation, manufacturing, and extractive industries in the desert and to create associated new settlements, along with accelerating the new towns program. The ultimate aim was to correct spatial/population imbalances and de-concentrate urban areas in the crowded Nile Valley. Over the 1997-2017 period, its stated goal was to increase the inhabited area of Egypt from 4% to 25% of Egypt's total land mass." (World Bank 2008a, p.55)
1 Reported in Al Ahram Weekly, 14-20 November 1997, p. 2.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 12
Figure 2: Current and Future New Cities in Egypt
(Source: Urban Sector Update 2007, Summary – World Bank and GOPP)
The same report comes to a rather skeptical assessment of the idea to develop
and populate desert areas on a big scale: "Migration to the new desert urban communities has been practically insignificant. For example, the total population of all the new towns and settlements in Cairo's desert in 1996 did not exceed 150,000 persons,1 and 66,000 of this population was in the 15th May city; a public housing project which was grafted onto the Helwan suburb. For comparison, over the 1986-1996 period the population of Greater Cairo grew by over 2.1 million persons. In other words, by 1996 all the new towns and settlements around Cairo had not absorbed the equivalent of 6 months of Cairo's growth. And in 2006 the Census recorded only 602,000 people living in the new towns around Cairo2, absorbing 451,000 persons or only 13.8% of the 3 million people added to all Greater Cairo over 10 years. At the national level, the new desert communities have even had a less demographic impact. In 2006 the population of all Egypt's new towns (20 towns as recorded by the Census) did not exceed 766,000 persons, or only 1.06% of Egypt's total population. And over the 1996-2006, period all new towns only absorbed 4.3% of the nation's population increase." (World Bank 2008a, p.12)
1 Including 10th of Ramadan.
2 New Towns include New Cairo, Shorouk, 10th Ramadan, El Obour, El Badr, 15th May, 6th October, and Sheikh Zeid.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 13
Furthermore, the World Bank points to the huge investments connected to the desert development idea: "Government's overriding imperative to create new urban communities and populate the desert prevails and continues to consume huge public resources. Since the 1970s, the GOE has pursued a desert development strategy with the aim of correcting spatial/population imbalances and de-concentrating urban areas with the crowded Nile Valley. The focus of this policy has been on developing New Towns and settlements, and providing significant incentives to encourage economic activities to locate in uninhabited areas, with the aim of pulling the population out of the crowded Nile Valley and diverting migration away from existing cities. Several ambitious new urban communities, integrated regional development schemes and "development corridors" have been prepared with very ambitious population targets (5.00 million inhabitants by 2005 in the new towns); and more ideas are being generated to create new villages in the desert backyard of congested cities. Such well-intentioned desire to reshape settlement patterns, to promote desert development, and to create new modes of urbanization has relied upon the State as the main determinant and financier of development, and has been predicated upon State ownership over public (desert) lands. This meant that over the last 25 years the apparatus of the State and huge public resources have been oriented towards shifting urban populations and activities out into the desert. Indeed, the share of Egypt's total infrastructure investment budget that was directed to the New Towns in the 1982-2002 period was approximately 22%, whereas today, only 1% of Egypt's population lives in these desert New Towns. The share of national infrastructure investments devoted to New Towns is expected to continue increasing as the GOE proceeds with its recently announced initiative of creating new villages in the desert hinterland, and this is despite the many signals that show that people are reluctant to move to new desert settlements. Moreover, in addition to the 20 New Towns that have been launched by the GOE, additional 24 New Towns are planned with their sites designated. It is unclear whether public investments in these additional New Towns will (or should at all) start soon." (World Bank 2008a, p.75) The "State of the African Cities Report 2008" by UN HABITAT and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa clearly shows that the concentration process of the population in all the countries is a common feature (Figure 3). Nevertheless, the concentration process of the population in Egypt is the highest (see Figure 4 below). One consequence will be that the biggest cities of Egypt will grow even more (see Table 2 below).
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Figure 3: Urban Settlements over 50.000 – Population in 2000
(Source: State of the African Cities Report 2008, S.28)
Table 2: Country City population estimates and projections (thousands)
10,534 12,503 14,451 15,561
(State of the African Cities Report 2008, S.238)
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 15
Figure 4: National Urbanization Rates
[Explanation: Egypt is the dark curve starting at 10, keeping slowly and rising to 42]
(Source: State of the African Cities Report 2008, S.28) One type of consequences of this trend of concentration is described in a report about Egypt's progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals by UNICEF. With regards to Goal 7 (Ensuring Environmental sustainability) it states: "Due to rapid urbanization, industrialization and heavy population density along the limited and confined green valley of the River Nile, several environmental problems exist. This affects both urban and rural sectors at the macro as well as the micro levels. The lack of environmental awareness aggravates the problem of natural resources degradation and generates sanitation, hygiene and environmental problems at the community level. Use of improved water sources is almost universal, but the quality of potable water at times does not meet international standards, particularly in remote rural and urban slum areas. The Egypt Human Development Report 2005 cites sanitation as the "silent emergency" with serious consequences upon children's development when combined with poverty and poor child-care practices, and diarrheal diseases caused by poor sanitation facilities as well as practices that contribute to child mortality." (http://www.unicef.org/egypt/overview.html).Facts like this underline the importance and urgency of finding adequate solutions for the human settlement challenge in Egypt soon.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 16
2.2 The New Concept of Development Corridors
The JICA-GOPP-project, mentioned above, formulated a planning framework and a
future growth pattern; constituting a projection for the total population in the three
governorates of Greater Cairo Region by the year 2027. Three alternatives of future
growth pattern for this region were formulated based on existing urban form as well as
different scenarios related to urban expansion and population growth and distribution.
The planning framework for the study was formulated in terms of population, economy,
and social development as follows:
1. Total population in the study area will be 24.2 million with average increase in
population of 8.1 million for the period 2007-2027.
2. Gross Regional Domestic Project (GRDP) will increase with average annual
growth rate of 8% and slow down to 6% as proposed so as to contribute to increasing the GRDP per capita with an average growth rate at 5% per year and improving the unemployment rate to 5% with 7 million job opportunities in 2027.
3. Education enrollment rates in 2027 will be at 100% for primary and secondary
stages as proposed in the sixth five-year plan.
4. The enrollment rate for the universities (higher education) in 2027 will be 50%.
The planning framework is summarized in table 3.
Table 3: Planning Framework of the Study Area until 2027
One of the recommendations of the JICA-GOPP-report 2008 is planning for development corridors. The project suggested three important development corridors
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 17
where planning for development needs to be started immediately (see Figure 4), namely:
• Central development Corridor: Cairo – New Cairo
• Western Development Corridor: Northern Giza – 6th of October, and • Eastern development Center: Cairo – 10th of Ramadan City.
Figure 5: Proposed Development Corridors
An additional idea, which was first proposed in 1990 by Farouk El-Baz, is the so-called "Desert Development Corridor". In a recent article, Mr. El-Baz repeated his proposal: "a superhighway west of the Nile from the Mediterranean Sea coastline to Lake Nasser". This idea suggests numerous opportunities for the development of new communities, agriculture, industry, trade and tourism around a 2,000 km strip of the Western Desert. "Because the country is presently facing insurmountable problems, the proposal is resubmitted for consideration by the private sector -- local, Arab and international investors." (El-Baz 2006) Major elements of the proposal are: 1- A superhighway to be built using the highest international standards, 1,200 km in length, from west of Alexandria to the southern border of Egypt, 2 - Twelve east-west branches, with the total length of approximately 800 km, to connect the highway to high-density population centers along the way, 3- A railroad for fast transport parallel to the superhighway,
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 18
4- A water pipeline from the Toshka Canal to supply freshwater, and
5- An electricity line to supply energy during the early phases of development.
(El Baz 2006)
There is no new information available about the further steps taken with regard to this
idea or feasibility studies about this ambitious project. It seems that huge investments
would be needed for such a major enterprise.
In an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel about the modernization of
Egyptian agriculture, Minister Mohieldin said that such activities as land reclamation
will require a lot of money, which could be contributed by the state and the private
sector. He explained: "The reclamation of one Feddan (0.42 hectare) of desert land costs
at least 15,000 Egyptian Pounds (…). We are working to alleviate the farmer's financial
burdens. That is why we are supporting agricultural credit institutions, which offer low-
interest and long-term loans. We're using Pakistan as the model, where the system has
proven itself. We're also bringing in experts from India." (Spiegel online 2008)
2.3 Centralization and Decentralization in Egypt
The system of governance plays a central role in managing the wellbeing of a society
and dealing with its challenges. A basic feature in this system is the hierarchy. In a
historical study about major civilizations, including Egypt, German scholar Karl August
Wittfogel, formulated the "hydraulic society" thesis. The theory states that the scale of water
control escalated in the ancient desert world, where large dams and elaborate canal networks
were built, and political power came to rest in the hands of the elite, typically a ruling class of
bureaucrats. Those were the "hydraulic societies," and in their most extreme forms they became
despotic regimes in which one or a few supreme individuals wielded absolute control over the
common people as they did over the rivers that coursed through their territory. Agreeing with
that observation, the great Egyptian geologist Gamal Hemdan wrote about the Nile region
saying: "The efficient running of the basin system entirely depended on a strong, centralized
government, for every upstream basin could endanger the riparian rights of those downstream".
Throughout most of its history, Egypt resembled one of its pyramids: there was a lofty pinnacle
where the rulers sat and a broad base where an anonymous, voiceless peasantry toiled. Irrigation
was the main factor, the means of production, creating that pyramid.
With such a long and strong history in the background, Egypt's current system of public
administration has to deal with this kind of important tradition as well as with the above
mentioned challenges. The local administration system faces several problems,
according to Dr. Khaled Zakaria Amin (Faculty of Economics and Political Science,
Cairo University), including the following:
• There are multiple control and regulatory bodies over local administration units
from the executive authorities, the People's Assembly and Judiciary at the central or local levels. This multiplicity of control and regulatory bodies reduces the local administration units' autonomy in administering their affairs and using their resources in serving development.
• Relationships between Popular and Executive Councils are typically ambiguous.
The role of EPCs is predominantly advisory and nonbinding to Executive
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 19
Councils that have the right to reject the resolutions and recommendations of the former. The abrogation of the right of interpellation and vote of confidence mechanisms have curtailed the control role of EPCs over the work of Executive Councils.
• Local administration performance is characterized by complicated and lengthy
procedures, conflicting functions, widespread manifestations of corruption and low efficiency of local administration employees.
• Local citizen's political and developmental participation is remarkably low.
Levels of participation continue to regress and voluntary efforts exerted as a contribution to local development are, with few exceptions, decreasing.
• Evidence that local units have no deciding voice in the preparation of the
investment and current budgets is represented in the fact that both budgets are centrally prepared and decided upon. The local units only suggest proposals of local needs according to previously prepared priorities. The roles do not serve in building local capacity neither ensuring that local priorities are met. The conception of a local plan is one-sided, as indicated by Article 118 of Law No. 43 for the year 1979 which states that: "The local unit is to determine its needs according to well prepared priorities. It is to accumulate those needs and co-ordinate them in a draft local plan to be approved by the concerned local Peoples' Council, and transmit them to the governorate Peoples Council."
• The current situation shows that the local division is ineffective due to
disparities among local administration units and lack of socioeconomic integration within each unit.
• The current division of the regions and governorates is not based on an
developmental rationale. An analysis of their potential suggests a regrouping of the governorates to form developmental regions. It also suggests modification of the boundaries and number of governorates. Changes such as these would require a thorough study of alternatives and a serious review of previous proposals.
• Local Units especially rural ones are overtaxed. • Local Units fall short in administrative competence especially accounting.
auditing and decision- making.
2.4 The Challenge of Climate Change
A rather new and potentially huge problem, – and an additional "push factor" – is
Climate Change. Besides several other effects one of the most dangerous consequences
for Egypt could be the continuous rise of the sea level (Shakweer / Youssef 2007).
According to a recent report by the UN, the coasts of Egypt could be hard-hit by these
effects, particularly the coastal regions on the Mediterranean, Alexandria and
neighboring cities being the settlements with the biggest impact to be expected (see
Figure 6 below).
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 20
Figure 6: African Cities at Risk due to Sea-Level-Rise
(Source: UNHABITAT 2008, p.21)
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 21
3. The Future-oriented Solution: Sustainable Development
The future qualities of our cities are dependent on the actions of today. In particular,
creating cities that are sustainable is an imperative in our rapidly urbanizing world. In
1950, 30% of the world's population lived in urban areas. By 2003, this proportion had
risen to 48%, and it is very likely that the watershed of over half will be reached when
this study is published. Predictions estimate that by 2030, 61% of the population will be
urban1. Envisioning such a future is not an easy matter. To create a sustainable urban
form, the need increases for developing ‘new ways of conceiving the future built
environment'. The aim of this chapter is to present examples of the latest researches into
different urban forms and the ways in which they can be designed to be more
3.1 Sustainable Development - Definitions and Background
The pursuit of sustainability has been placed on the agenda of governments and
non-governmental organizations after the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment, and more recently by the World Commission on Environment and Development (1987) and the 1992 so-called Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It has been stated by these and other bodies that cities must be economically viable, socially equitable and contribute to environmental protection of all species: adhering to the concept of Sustainable Development (United Nations, 2002 especially Chapter 28).
In many countries, policy has been adopted with long-term urban sustainability
as its focus, and there are many examples of this that were translated into practice.2 This Study presents some of the diverse aspects that are inextricably bound up with, and strongly influence, the scope of sustainable urban planning and design. A great deal has been written about the influences that can be said to affect the urban form, such as the technological, social, economic, institutional, geographical and physical influences. These aspects are inter-related and interdependent as they all facilitate and influence sustainable urban planning and design in varying degrees and forms. The chapters that follow add to the debate, examining ideas drawn from research and practice at different scales of the built environment from the urban region to the neighborhood level in a number of different countries.
Sustainability, in general, is the ability to maintain balance of a certain process
or state in any system. It is now most frequently used in connection with biological and human systems. In an ecological context, sustainability can be defined as the ability of an ecosystem to maintain ecological processes, functions, biodiversity and productivity into the future. Sustainability is a complex term and concept that can be applied to almost every system on earth, particularly the many different levels of biological organization, such as; wetlands, prairies and forests and is expressed in human
1 S. VROM: Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, The Netherlands (2001) Fifth Edition Memorandum/Vijfde Nota over de Ruimtelijke Ordering, Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, The Hague.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 22
organization concepts, such as eco-municipalities, sustainable cities, and human activities and disciplines, such as; sustainable agriculture, sustainable architecture and renewable energy, corporations and institutions.1 For humans to live sustainably, earth's resources must be used at a rate at which they can be replenished. Now, there is clear scientific evidence that humanity is living unsustainably, and that an unprecedented collective effort is needed to return human use of natural resources to within sustainable limits. Since the 1980s, the idea of sustainable human well-being has become increasingly associated with the integration of economic, social and environmental spheres. In 1989, the World Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland Commission) articulated what has now become a widely accepted definition of sustainability: "[to meet] the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Sustainable Development is based on or rather has connections to basic civilizational wisdoms and insights by major religions and philosophies. To mention just some parallels between Islam and Sustainability we can feature a recent study by the German scientist Sigrid Nökel.2 She points out that the recent ecological problems result from industrialization and Capitalism, and that Islamic sources contain such basic concepts like:
• fitra – the creation as natural order;
• tawhid – the oneness of the creation, all things in the world are related to each
other and are a sign of Allah and are therefore all equally precious, valuable and have to be protected;
• mizan – the balance between all different systems; • Khilafa – human beings in their role as advocates of creation, having the duty to
preserve its order. They are allowed to consume the fruits of the Earth but not to exploit them in a wasteful way.
From a basic perspective, sustainable development can be viewed as the most advanced and comprehensive secular concept for the survival and advancement of humankind in the 21st century, concentrating all basic knowledge and principles into one holistic strategy for all individuals and societies. Sustainable Development is in its ecological dimension a pattern of resource use that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met equally not only in the present, but also for future generations. The term was used by the Brundtland Commission which coined what has become the most often-quoted
1 SD In Desert Area 11 Sustainability - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.mht
2 To be retrieved at: http://www.stiftung-interkultur.de/noekel_band7.pdf (in German). See also a book about this kind of relation between and Islam and other religions> Gary T. Gardner: Inspiring Progress. Religion's Contributions to Sustainable Development. New York: W.W. Norton 2006.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 23
definition of sustainable development (which states that sustainable development meets
the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet
their own needs. 1
Sustainable development ties together a concern for the carrying capacity of natural
systems along with the social challenges facing humanity. As early as the 1970s
"sustainability" was employed to describe an economy "in equilibrium with basic
ecological support systems." Ecologists have pointed to the "limits of growth" and
presented the alternative of a "steady state economy" in order to address
The field of sustainable development can be conceptually broken into three constituent
parts: environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and sociopolitical
3.2 Sustainable development in the Arab countries
Since Rio de Janeiro Summit, some formal accomplishments have been made in the
Arab region towards the achievement of sustainable development, particularly in the
areas of education, health and improving standards of living.
Arab countries have several legal foundations for SD-initiatives:
Declaration of the UN summit on Human Environment (1971).
The Arab Declaration on Environment and Development (Tunisia, 1986).
The Arab Statement on Environment and Development and the Future Outlook (1991).
The Rio Declaration of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED, 1992).
The Barbados Declaration on Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (1994).
The Malmo Declaration on the occasion of the first Global Ministerial Environment Forum (2000).
The Jeddah Declaration concerning the Islamic Perspective on the Environment (2000).
The Tehran Declaration concerning Religions, Cultures and Environment (2001).
The Abu Dhabi Declaration: Perspective of Arab Environmental Action (2001).
Building on the ministerial declaration of sustainable development issued in Cairo on 24th of October 2001, the Council of Arab Ministers for environment and other specialized ministerial councils within Arab league - with the cooperation of international, regional and Arab organizations - adopted a comprehensive regional
1 SD In Desert Area 11 Sustainable development - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.mht
2 SD In Desert Area 11 Sustainable development - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.mht
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 24
approach. This approach aims at developing a regional program for sustainable
The concept of "sustainable development" attracted the world's attention since the
"Earth Summit" in Rio de Janeiro, 1992. From that time, the relationship between
"development" and "environmental considerations" was changed. Decision makers and
citizens do understand that the development process includes environmental, social,
cultural and moral dimensions.
Thus, the results of the development process will be either unwanted, achieve few
benefits or completely fail. From this point, unsustainable development creates
environmental and other problems, therefore we have to realize the fact of limited
resources and the limited capacities of ecosystems. It is a process of a change, where the
exploitation of resources, channeling investments, adapting technical development and
institutional development harmoniously enhance the potential that present and future
could meet in order to fulfill people's aspirations.
3.3 Sustainable Cities
The term sustainable development goes beyond the boundaries of science and business development and trade to include human development, values, and specifics in cultures. In fact, many organizations refer to sustainable human development as opposed to sustainable development in order to emphasize issues such as the importance of gender equality, participation in decision-making processes, and access to education and health. Cities have become the focal points of these components as major consumers and distributors of goods and services. At the same time, many cities tend to be large consumers of goods and services, while draining resources out of external regions that they depend on. As a result of increasing consumption of resources, and growing dependencies on trade, the ecological impact of cities extends beyond their geographic locations. It has been recognized that the concept of sustainable development is an evolving, debatable term. This section gives an overview of how sustainable (urban) development was defined by different organizations in different geographical regions.
During the preparatory meetings for the URBAN21 Conference (Berlin, July 2000), the
following definition was developed to define sustainable urban development:
"Improving the quality of life in a city, including ecological, cultural, political,
institutional, social and economic components without leaving a burden on the future
generations. A burden which is the result of a reduced natural capital and an excessive
local debt. Our aim is that the flow principle, that is based on an equilibrium of
material and energy and also financial input/output, plays a crucial role in all future
decisions on the development of urban areas. "
Sustainable Community Development is the ability to make development choices
which respect the relationship between the three "E's"-economy, ecology, and equity of
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 25
• Economy - Economic activity should serve the common good, be self-renewing,
and build local assets and self-reliance.
• Ecology - Humans are part of nature, nature has limits, and communities are
responsible for protecting and building natural assets.
• Equity - The opportunity for full participation in all activities, benefits, and
decision-making of a society."4
"A sustainable community is one in which improvement in the quality of human life is achieved in harmony with improving and maintaining the health of ecological systems; and where a healthy economy's industrial base supports the quality of both human and ecological systems."1 "A sustainable community uses its resources to meet current needs while ensuring that adequate resources are available for future generations. It seeks improved public health and a better quality of life for all its residents by limiting waste, preventing pollution, maximizing conservation and promoting efficiency, and developing local resources to revitalize the local economy." It has to be mentioned here that the concept and term "Sustainability" has a very specific connotation, but that there are numerous definitions of it and that often other terms are in use which more or less express similar qualities of development. One such term is being used by UN HABITAT in its latest report "State of the World's Cities 2008/2009": Harmonious Cities" (see www.unhabitat.org). In its definition it makes a clear statement about the high standards and qualities of such a city: "Cities are not just bricks and mortar: they symbolize the dreams, aspirations and hopes of societies. The management of a city's human, social, cultural and intellectual assets is, therefore, as important for harmonious urban development as the management of a city's physical assets is. Urban planning has to go beyond being just a technical exercise to one that is cognizant of a city's various tangible and intangible assets. Innovative approaches to urban planning have to also respond to the following emerging priorities and concerns: regional disparities; urban inequalities; and metropolitan expansion or the growth of "city regions". (UN HABITAT 2008, p.17) By promoting sustainable urban form and function, cities become healthy and viable communities for citizens. Efficient urban form also helps protect the hinterland of ecosystems that cities depend on. In many ways, the advantages of sustainable communities are underlined in the characteristics and definitions of urban sustainability. A good quality of life, natural open spaces, reduced waste, equality, access, lower crime, sense of community, clean air and water quality, and environmental diversity are just a few beneficial characteristics previously mentioned. The most important advantage of a sustainable city is that it follows such a development path that allows for
1 Indigo development: http://www.indigodev.com/Sustain.html
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 26
an integral and long-term development without compromising future generations. At the
same time this includes intra and intergenerational equality.
3.4 The Desert and Its Potentials
The desert is a landscape or region that receives very little precipitation. Deserts are
defined as areas with an average annual precipitation of less than 50cm/yr (10 in), or
as areas where more water is lost by evapotranspiration than falls as precipitation. In
the Köppen climate classification system, deserts are classed as BWh (hot desert) or
BWk (temperate desert). In the Thornthwaite climate classification system, deserts
would be classified as arid megathermal climates.1
Deserts take up about one Quarter (33 percent) of the Earth's land surface. Hot
deserts usually have a seasonal temperature range, with high daytime temperatures, and
low nighttime temperatures (due to extremely low humidity). In hot deserts, the
temperature in the daytime can reach 45 °C/113 ° F or higher in the summer, and dip to
4 °C/ 87 °F or lower in the winter. Water traps infrared radiation from both the sun and
the ground, and dry desert air is incapable of blocking sunlight during the day or
trapping heat during the night. Thus, during daylight most of the sun's heat reaches the
ground, and as soon as the sun sets the desert dries quickly.
Many deserts are formed by rain shadows; mountains blocking the path of precipitation
to the desert (on the lee side of the mountain). Deserts are often composed of sand and
rocky surfaces. Sand dunes called ergs and stony surfaces called hamada surfaces
compose a minority of desert surfaces. Exposures of rocky terrain are typical, and
reflect minimal soil development and sparseness of vegetation. The soil is rocky
because of the low chemical weathering.
3.4.1 The Hot Deserts
Deserts sometimes contain non-valuable mineral deposits that were formed in the wet
environment or that were exposed by sun. Due to mild and consistent wetness, some
deserts are ideal places for artificial preservation of artifacts and food.2
There are different forms of deserts. Cold deserts can be covered in snow or ice; frozen
water unavailable to plant life. These are more commonly referred to as tundra if a short
season of above-freezing temperatures is experienced, or as an ice cap if the temperature
remains below freezing year-round, rendering the land almost completely lifeless.
Most non-polar deserts are hot in the day and chilly at night (for the latitude) because of
the lack of the moderating effect of water. In some parts of the world, deserts are
created by a rain shadow effect in which air masses lose much of their moisture as they
1 SD In Desert Area 11 Sustainable development - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.mht
2 SD In Desert Area 11 Sustainable development - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.mht
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 27
move over a mountain range; other areas are arid by virtue of being very far from the
nearest available sources of moisture. Deserts are also classified by their geographical
location and dominant weather pattern as trade wind, mid-latitude, rain shadow, coastal,
monsoon, or polar deserts. Former desert areas presently in non-arid environments are
3.4.2 Resources in Desert Areas
Deserts may contain great amount of mineral resources over their entire surface. This
occurrence in minerals also determines the color. For example, the red color of many
sand-deserts is a result of the occurrence of laterite.
Some mineral deposits too are formed, improved, or preserved by geologic processes
that occur in arid lands as a consequence of climate. Ground water leaches ore minerals
and redeposits them in zones near the water table. This leaching process concentrates
these minerals as ore that can be mined.
Evaporation in arid lands enriches mineral accumulation in their lakes. Lake beds
known as playas may be sources of mineral deposits formed by evaporation. Water
evaporating in closed basins precipitates minerals such as gypsum, salts (including
sodium nitrate and sodium chloride), and borates. The minerals formed in these
evaporite deposits depend on the composition and temperature of saline waters at the
time of deposition.
Some of the more productive petroleum areas on Earth are found in arid and semiarid
regions of Africa and the Mideast, although the oil fields were originally formed in
shallow marine environments. Recent climate change has placed these reservoirs in an
arid environment. It's noteworthy that Ghawar, the world's largest and most productive
oilfield is mostly under the Empty Quarter and Al-Dahna deserts.1
Solar Energy Resources
Deserts are increasingly seen as sources for solar energy. The Negev Desert and the
surrounding area, including the Arava Valley, are the sunniest parts of Israel and little of
this land is arable, which is why it has become the center of the Israeli solar industry.
David Faiman, a world expert on solar energy, believes that the energy needs of a
country like Israel could be met by building solar energy plants in the Negev. Faiman
also believes the technology now exists to supply all of the world's electricity needs
with 10 percent of the Sahara Desert. Solel has nine fields of solar collectors in the
Mojave Desert of California. It recently signed a contract to build the Mojave Solar
Park, which will be the world's largest solar generating plant.
For several years there has been a discourse between the EU and its member states and
countries in the MENA-region, among them in a leading role was Egypt. Recently a
consortium of leading corporations (Desertec) announced its intention to build a super-
grit between the two regions and export solar energy to European countries after the
1 SD In Desert Area 11 Sustainable development - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.mht
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 28
year 2020, after 2050 in this way around 15% of the EU demand could be met. Other
African countries are also planned to consume this clean energy.1
3.4.3 Human Life in Deserts in Egypt
A desert is a hostile, potentially deadly environment for unprepared humans. In hot
deserts, high temperatures cause rapid loss of water due to sweating, and the absence of
water sources can result in dehydration and death within a few days. In addition,
unprotected humans are also at risk of heatstroke.2 This is the main reason why desert
areas are only inhabited by small numbers of people, and this is the case in any country.
For instance, despite the density of population, the strong government activities and
high unemployment, only 8% of Israel's population lives in the Negev desert area. (Katz
2000, F 9)
Humans may also have to adapt to sandstorms in some deserts; not just to their adverse
effects on respiratory systems and eyes, but also to their potentially harmful effects on
equipment such as filters, vehicles and communication equipments. Sandstorms can last
for hours, sometimes even days. This makes surviving in the desert quite difficult for
Despite this, some cultures have made hot deserts their home for thousands of years,
including the Bedouin, Tuareg tribe and Pueblo people. Modern technology including
advanced irrigation systems, desalinization and air conditioning have made deserts
much more hospitable. In the United States and Israel for example, desert farming has
found extensive use. Most traditional human life in deserts is nomadic. It depends in hot
deserts on finding water, and on following infrequent rains to obtain grazing for
livestock. In cold deserts, it depends on finding good hunting and fishing grounds, on
sheltering from blizzards and winter extremes, and on storing enough food for winter.
Permanent settlement in both kinds of deserts requires permanent water and food
sources and adequate shelter, or the technology and energy sources to provide it.
Nevertheless, best practice project like the Sekem initiative in the Belbeis area north-
east of Cairo prove that human settlements can be established in desert areas, and can
also meet highest standards of Sustainability - be it with regards to the ecological,
economic, social or cultural dimensions (see Abouleish 2005). In 2008 Sekem published
its first Sustainability report. Analyzing this interesting case carefully, it becomes
obvious that it was only possible because very specific conditions were given and
resources were available: a vision, a leader, committed and highly motivated people and
experts, support from various institutions, and last but not least huge passion and
patience – the project started 30 years ago.
1 As with any such huge project there are many doubts about the prognoses, the costs, the underlying
expectations etc. - articulated by EuroSolar, for instance. See: , Energie aus der Wüste / Energy from the desert (June 17, 2009, 15:27, NZZ Online, in German) http://www.nzz.ch/nachrichten/wirtschaft/aktuell/solarstrom_sahara_1.2758948.html?printview=true
2 SD In Desert Area 11 Sustainable development - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.mht
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 29
3.5. Insights from Australian Desert Development Efforts
The Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre (2008) in Australia formulated a
special definition with regards to Sustainability in desert areas: "Sustainable desert
settlements which are ones that meet the diverse needs of current and future residents,
are sensitive to their environment, and contribute to high quality of life. Residents of
sustainable desert settlements monitor their external and internal drivers and resource
constraints and can appropriately adapt to these factors when they need to manage
challenging times or take advantage of new opportunities." In another publication of
that institution; it reads: "The distinguishing feature of desert settlement is its spatially
dynamic nature, and the importance of inter-settlement human and resource flows. As I
have argued, desert economy is generated through the co-development of Indigenous
and non-Indigenous patterns of movement and residence, across a landscape of
unevenly distributed resource values and livelihood activities. In pursuing a ‘systems
model' of desert settlement viability, Desert Knowledge CRC Core Project 4 leaves
broader considerations of integrated regional systems to Core Project 6 (see Desert
Knowledge CRC 2005). Across Working Paper 1 and Working Paper 2, my argument is
that it is necessary to see the viability of any given settlement as (i) relative to other
population centres; and that (ii) these relationships are intrinsic to its viability at the
local scale." (Pleshet 2006, p.16)
The Australian government is confronted with the challenge, whether and how to
integrate or support otherwise the indigenous people, the Aborigines.1 There are ideas to
build villages for them in the desert, but this seems to be a very peculiar and sensitive
enterprise as experts point out: "Given the direct and indirect costs of transport, the
conditions of this regional transport geography impinge on the capacity of Indigenous
communities to remain in dispersed remote settlements. It seems evident that desert
settlement viability could be positively affected by interventions that (i) improve
Indigenous access to transport as consumers, and (ii) generate opportunities for
Indigenous involvement in transport service and infrastructure activities, as employees
and producers. Considering the evidence, the former seems a greater opportunity than
the latter. The economies of scale required to undertake profitable roadwork are
unlikely to be reached by small scale Indigenous community council operations, even
given successful regional cooperation. The opportunities may be modest within existing
arrangements for roads infrastructure and transport, yet such transport activities may
still be desirable targets for employment generation. The degree of unevenness, and
regional centralisation of work opportunities may make the development of regular
transport services to larger desert centres, such as Alice Springs, essential in the
medium-term. In light of this, an affordable fee-for-service remote transport system is
necessary not only now, but will become increasingly important as increased vehicle
complexity and fuel prices continue to undermine the overall affordability of privately
owned transport." (Pleshet 2006a, p.18)
1 For the case of Egypt, especially the Western Desert see ethnological studies like those by Frank Bliss 1989.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 30
There is the idea and the expectation that tourism could be a supportive source for developing desert settlements in Australia. But again, experts call for thorough analyses before starting action.1 Since the interests, motivations and expectations of tourists are of major importance for development of tourism, studies have been conducted to find this out. For a particular kind of tourism into the desert areas, a study published the following results: "One significant finding is that there appears to be four major groups of motives for respondents visiting the desert. These are: • Experiencing the freedom of being away from the city factor. • Social and learning factor. This included ‘meeting new people', ‘meeting the locals', ‘strengthening the existing relationships', ‘spending time with like-minded people', ‘experiencing nature', ‘visiting Indigenous communities', ‘developing a greater sense of self' and ‘experiencing new and different things you would not otherwise see'. • Exploration factor including ‘gaining access to remote places only accessible via 4WD', ‘visiting new places', ‘experiencing different landscapes', ‘experiencing new and different things you would not otherwise see' and ‘experiencing nature'. • Learning and introspection motives. These included developing a greater sense of self, and experiencing difficult landscapes, experiencing new different things you would not otherwise see and experiencing nature. These motives were reflected in the itineraries constructed for club members and in the activities they undertook. After conducting a factor analysis of the activities undertaken by respondents, three factors were found to be closely related to the motivation factors outlined previously. The main activity factors were: • Social. These included meeting the locals and new people, spending time with like-minded people, and strengthening existing relationships. • Visiting attractions and activities. These paralleled the motivation factor termed heritage and included activities such as visiting Aboriginal cultural sites, communities and performances; visiting local galleries; experiencing nature, heritage, and historical sites; and visiting places of interest. • Escape/exploration. This factor included activities such as experiencing the freedom of being out of the city, visiting new places, gaining access to remote places only accessible via 4WD, going camping, and going fishing." (Coghlan / Prideaux 2009, p.20f) It can be expected that in some parts of Egyptian deserts, these and additional findings could be helpful. In any case, what it underlines is that the inhabitants of the desert areas have to be taken seriously when development is concerned. They have to be considered as stakeholders.
1 "The outcomes of the project were mixed. The expectation had been that the project would help stakeholders in the tourism industry, and in the region generally, to develop the industry and deal with change. A systems-thinking approach would enable stakeholders to see which options and strategies for development would be of greatest benefit to the industry and to the region as a whole. Tools and techniques would be devised to assist this process." (Friedel / Chewings 2008, p.23)
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 31
"While there is no simple or easy solution to this issue of the sustainability of remote
settlements, there is no doubt that it is intimately tied to government policy, both
historically and currently. The current policy framing Aboriginal people as
disadvantaged individuals, rather than as members of a marginalized group that have
unique interests and capacities, actively denies the scope for developing a complex
notion of sustainability that goes beyond economics. Looking beyond mainstream
economics to hybrid economies and alternative livelihoods enables us to see success
and to value the unique contributions that remote settlements can make. Yet, we cannot
selectively pick and choose aspects of Aboriginal culture that are acceptable or maintain
that colonisation and government policy was/is the only culprit to ‘Indigenous
disadvantage'. It seems to me that government investment in participatory development
programs leading to social and in some cases necessary cultural change, that may well
include interventions and a realistic understanding of Aboriginal life worlds, is crucial.
Much of the research that the Desert Knowledge CRC is undertaking – particularly in
this field of sustainable settlements and alternative livelihoods – will utilise
participatory and collaborative methodologies with a focus on research leading to
change. If collaboration in research is the way of the future, surely this also needs to be
applied to policy making." (Holcombe 2006. p.8)
3.6 Egyptian Deserts As a new Location for Sustainable Cities
After thirty years of development efforts in desert areas, Egypt is still trying to reclaim
the desert, to provide work and living space for its expanding population and their
expanding settlements. However, certain economists and environmentalists fear that the
country's efforts to green the desert could be ill-advised.
About 96 percent of Egypt is covered by the Sahara desert, with the remaining, more
fertile land concentrated along the Nile River that snakes through the eastern half of the
country. Although the Nile Valley accounts for just 4 percent of Egypt's surface area,
yet it is home to virtually all of the 79 million residents; and, the overcrowding in the
valley looks set to become worse, given that Egypt's population is expected to double by
2050. 1 Official estimates put unemployment at 9.3 percent. Many other problems, like
ecological ones, lead people to the idea to develop desert areas.
As mentioned above, this has prompted authorities in Egypt to develop plans – among
other things – for large-scale resettlement under the auspices of the Toshka project. We
hope that over the next decade, around six million Egyptians will have moved from the
Nile Valley to reclaim land in south-western Egypt, where they will produce wheat,
cotton and other products - and find jobs in light manufacturing. "Egypt needs to use the
desert to take care of the tremendous increase in population. We also have to use the
desert to produce food, which we are now importing most of," says Adly Bishai,
founder of the Desert Development Centre.2
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 32
However, critics believe that the target of 1.4 million hectares is unrealistic1, and
estimate that only half this amount of land can be reclaimed if water levels in the Nile
remain constant2. There are also some critical doubts about the long term sustainability
of this use of the desert.3
Nonetheless, according to independent estimates, it takes 100 reclaimed hectares of land
to equal the output of one hectare of existing Nile soil.4 Ironically; urban sprawl and
industry have now taken over much of the Nile Valley.
With the agriculture sector contributing with less than 25 percent of Egypt's national
income while accounting for 88 percent of the country's water consumption5, there are
also concerns about the economic rationale of establishing fields in the desert. Golf
courses and the luxurious lawns of upscale gated communities in Egypt's cities are
further examples of questionable water management in this desert country6.
Desert ecologists believe that authorities should focus more on eco-tourism in their
efforts to ensure a future for Egyptians by utilizing desert areas.
"The value of an oasis as an attraction can bring in more money than 4,000 acres of rice
fields.and it's certainly more sustainable," he says. "Rather than produce something
that you can obtain for one hundredth of the cost elsewhere, we should use this water,
which is a very valuable commodity, to maximize the revenue for the people of Egypt,"
adds Saleh, who has conducted feasibility studies for Egypt's Tourism Authority on the
value of land reclamation schemes compared to that of eco-tourism projects. 7
One of Egypt's handful of eco-lodges (i.e. "White Mountain" in the Berber language,
Apco) in the western desert oasis of Siwa, has won international recognition for its
sustainable practices.8 The lodge is the brainchild of Mounir Neamatalla - president of
an Egyptian consulting firm, Environmental Quality International - who labels efforts to
reclaim the desert a "huge transgression" in resource management.
3.6.1 Western Desert
The Western Desert covers about 700,000 square kilometers and accounts for about
two-thirds of Egypt's land area. This immense desert to the west of the Nile spans the
area from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sudanese border. The desert's Jilf al Kabir
2 As Previous Reference
3 As Previous Reference
4 As Previous Reference
5 EGYPT: Desert Reclamation the Country's Best Hope - Or a Mirage? By Leslie-Ann Boctor http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=38721
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 33
Plateau is of an altitude of about 1,000 meters, an exception to the uninterrupted
territory of basement rocks covered by layers of horizontally bedded sediments forming
a massive plain or low plateau. The Great Sand Sea lies within the desert's plain and
extends from the Siwa Oasis to Jilf al Kabir. Escarpments (ridges) and deep depressions
(basins) exist in several parts of the Western Desert, and no rivers or streams drain into
or out of the area.
The government has considered the Western Desert a frontier region and has divided it
into two governorates at about the twenty-eighth parallel south or north: Matruh to the
north and New Valley (Al Wadi al Jadid) to the south. There are seven important
depressions in the Western Desert, and all are considered oases except the largest,
Qattara, the water of which is salty. The Qattara Depression is approximately 15,000
square kilometers (about the size of) and is largely below sea level (its lowest point is
133 meters below sea level). Badlands, salt marshes, and salt lakes cover the sparsely
inhabited Qattara Depression.1
Limited agricultural production, the presence of some natural resources, and permanent
settlements are found in the other six depressions, all of which have fresh water
provided by the Nile or by local groundwater. The Siwah Oasis, close to the Libyan
border and west of Qattara, is isolated from the rest of Egypt but has sustained life since
ancient times. The Siwa's cliff-hung Temple of Amun was renowned for its oracles for
more than 1,000 years. For centuries fresh water artesian wells in the Fayyum Oasis
have permitted extensive cultivation in an irrigated area that extends over 1,800 square
kilometers (694 square miles).
3.6.2 Eastern Desert
The topographic features of the region east of the Nile are very different from those of
the Western Desert. The relatively mountainous Eastern Desert rises abruptly from the
Nile and extends over an area of approximately 220,000 square kilometers (roughly
equivalent in size to the US State of Utah). The upward-sloping plateau of sand gives
way within 100 kilometers to arid, defoliated, rocky hills running north and south
between the Sudan border and the Delta. The hills reach elevations of more than 1,900
meters. The region's most prominent feature is the easterly chain of rugged mountains,
the Red Sea Hills, which extend from the Nile Valley eastward to the Gulf of Suez and
the Red Sea. This elevated region has a natural drainage pattern that rarely functions
because of insufficient rainfall. It also has a complex of irregular, sharply cut wadis that
extend westward toward the Nile.2
The Eastern Desert is generally isolated from the rest of the country. There is no oasis
cultivation in the region because of the difficulty in sustaining any form of agriculture.
Except for a few villages overlooking the Red Sea coast, there are no permanent
settlements. The importance of the Eastern Desert lies in its natural resources, especially
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 34
oil. A single governorate, the capital of which is at Hurghada, administers the entire
3.6.3 Sinai Peninsula
This triangular area covers about 61,100 square kilometers (slightly smaller than
USA). Similar to the desert, the peninsula contains mountains in its southern sector that are a geological extension of the Red Sea Hills, the low range along the Red Sea coast that includes Mount Catherine (Jabal Katrinah), the country's highest point--2,642 meters. The Red Sea may have been named after these mountains, which are red.
The southern side of the peninsula has a sharp escarpment that subsides after a
narrow coastal shelf that slopes into the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba. The elevation of Sinai's southern rim is about 1,000 meters. Moving northward, the elevation of this limestone plateau decreases. The northern side of Sinai is a flat, sandy coastal plain, which extends from the Suez Canal into the Gaza Strip and Israel.1
Finally we can conclude that the western desert seems to be the best available
place in the Egyptian deserts which can be utilized for locating new sustainable cities.
However, the precise locations have to be decided upon by rigorous and systematic
analysis (environmental impact analysis, cost analysis etc.). A good source for such
decision support is available at the National Authority for Remote Sensing (NARSS).
They have developed ranking criteria (Multi- Criteria evaluation) to identify the most
suitable areas for development. Using their data, the changing priorities and patterns can
easily be visualized and the complex situation made transparent.
3.7 Situation and Experience of New Communities in Egyptian Deserts
This part introduces an analysis and evaluation to the Egyptian experience in
constructing new urban cities and communities in the desert. For this purpose, the report
monitors and analyses the evolution of the experience aiming to identify most important
positive and negative aspects. It attempts to understand and extract most important
outcomes and learnt experiences.
3.7.1 Types of new cities in Egypt
The State adopted a policy to expand into the desert creating new foundations for
urbanization outside the inhabited area and breaking the conventional patterns of urban
development such as extensions of informal cities. In this regard, it aimed to reproduce
the populace map and geographic distribution in Egypt on one hand and create new
urban environments that are more organized and attractive on the other. It was hoped for
that new urban environment would absorb part of the overpopulation in existing cities,
and protect agricultural land. New cities in Egypt, are divided in terms of locations and
functions into three types: satellite, twin and independent cities as follows:32
2 Presidency, report of the National Council of Social Services and Development, 14th cycle 1993-1994
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 35
This type of cities is located around and close to Cairo. The short and middle term
objective of constructing those cities is to overcome the population density in Cairo, use
available basic services and labor in attracting residents, activities, creating job
opportunities and economic factors that are linked to the mother city. Satellite cities
include 15th of May, 6th of October, Bader, and Al Obour which are developed without
an economic base and instead they totally depend on Cairo. In this context, they are
both a burden and an urban plus to the mother cities.
It is an urban expansion into desert lands situated close to the existing urban cities. In
some cases, they are just a natural extension to the existing cities. Examples of this type
include: New Damietta, New Beni Suef, New Minia, New Asuit, New Akhmim, and
New Aswan. Unlike satellite cities, twin cities have their own economic and service
base but they are still closely linked to the existing cities.
This type of cities is characterized with relative capacity and stand alone economic base.
On the long term, the objective is to create economic growth poles comprising
independent economic entities. In such case, cities become qualified to group socio-
economic activities around a certain point to make optimal benefit from the clustering
advantages. They are located far from the existing cities sufficient to support its
independent position with some of them penetrating into the desert farther from the
valley. Examples include: 10th of Ramadan, Sadat, New Borgel Arab and Salheya
3.7.2 Migration Motives – Example Toshka Project
As mentioned above, a major task for sound urban planning is to learn about the
interests, needs and expectations of potential inhabitants of new settlements. For that
and similar reasons, a study was conducted in 2003 under the title "Propensity to
Migrate to Toshka: Fine-tuning Toshka Project". The project summary explains,
that the purpose of that research project was to assist in sketching the future vision of
Toshka by providing valid information regarding the likely social impact of the project,
and how the project could be fine-tuned for effectiveness and efficiency in its march
toward its social aims.2 The research intended to recognize the central importance of
involving future beneficiaries in planning, as success in achieving the project's
objectives is contingent on the views of the current and potential migrants, how they
1 Essam Al-Din Mohammad Ali, Evaluation of the Egyptian experiment in establishing new towns in the desert area, Journal of Engineering Sciences, (JES), Assuit University, Vol.31, No. 1, August, Assuit, 2002, PP 232-233.
2 A short description of the project, quoted here, is available at www.neareast.org/main/pub/docs/CDS research_and_evaluation_examples_2003.doc The projects full title was: "Propensity to Migrate to Toshka: Fine-tuning Toshka Project" (February – June 2003). Unfortunately, the full report and the results of this study have not been published.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 36
define the factors that will encourage them to settle in Toshka. Questions such as the
following were posed: What material improvement in their lives would they consider
sufficient to migrate? In what ways is life in Toshka perceived as different from the life
they leave behind and why? The answers to these questions, among others, were
planned to provide means to incorporate local knowledge and resources into the project
plans and assure that people's reality could fit with the socio-economic dynamics that
drive the Toshka project. This distinguishing feature of that research project is to bring
information from selected sites throughout Egypt where the potential to migrate is
regarded higher than in other areas. Selected sites where the research will be conducted
include Menufiya, Beheira, Toshka, Aswan, Suhag and Kafr El-Sheikh. The research
team looked at general trends in Egypt's economy that might influence the future of a
mega-project such as Toshka: communication technology, transport, infrastructure,
industrial cities particularly those connected to major cities in Upper Egypt, various
laws and regulations in place that influence the job market in Egypt, and experiences of
migrants to other reclaimed lands in Egypt.
3.7.3 Analyzing the Egyptian experience of constructing new urban cities in the
In the area of urban expansion and protecting agricultural lands:
Informal settlements are still illegitimately growing along urban boundaries of Egyptian
cities. However, if we consider total area implemented in the new cities, it comes to
around 16500 feddan. This area might have been taken from the currently cultivated
land in the valley and Delta for urban expansion purposes if those cities were not
In the area of industrial expansion:
Total activities area in new cities was 7690 feddan broken down into 914 industrial
productive projects and 241 projects are underway. This brings the total number of
industrial projects into 1155 projects. Actually, this number exceeds what has been
planned as a result to facilitations offered to investors including providing areas
equipped with the necessary utilities, services, and a number of tax and customs
New cities experienced large influx of private sector investments contributing an
additional industrial national product to Egypt's industrial map. If we would compare
total State expenditure allocated for implementing infrastructure networks and services
projects, we would find that each pound of State expenditure corresponds to 5.7 of
annual production revenue of the industrial projects operating in new cities.
In the housing area:
Total land dedicated to housing in new cities comes to 8809 feddan. Till mid 1996, the
number of completed housing unites reached around 47845 units.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 37
Unused housing capacities:
Studies indicate that the percentage of population attraction into this type of cities failed
to fulfill the target. For instance, 40% of the housing units remained vacant due to
multiple reasons including, inter alia; rejecting governmental housing for increased
amount of rent or ownership installments that are incompatible with the income.
Moreover, 25% of commercial areas are not used because commercial and public
services can not be performed efficiently.
Continued housing crisis and issues of the existing cities:
Although the objective pronounced in all studies of new cities indicate that the
construction purpose is to mitigate population pressure off the existing cities especially
in Cairo and Alexandria regions, however, the housing problem is growing more
complex. Number of Egyptian households is rising with around 100,000 per year
without a corresponding increase of housing units. On the other hand, existing cities are
still suffering unemployment. It was further proved that most of the industrial projects
established in such cities failed to make a tangible change in the labor market
mechanism. Moreover, most of the working manpower is recruited from other places
Fragmented urban growth:
It is quite evident how growth of housing areas and service centers is fragmented. In
this context, there is a large number of incomplete public and private housing projects in
many neighborhoods. Regardless of the unplanned distribution of service facilities on
the three levels, namely; neighborhood, district and city, imbalance between the
implementation levels in the industry, housing and services sectors is another issue.
Slow population growth:
The overall achievements image of the past years indicate that population growth
slowed down in new cities. Such slow down is the result of some causes, mainly lack of
funding sources. However, the slowdown reveals failure of new cities to achieve the
desired objectives. There is a difference from one city to another in terms of residents'
percentage to the target in the first phase. For example, it is 100% in 15th of May, 7% in
Sadat, only 3% in New Borg el Arab, and 20% in both 10th of Ramadan and 6th of
The following reasons explain the slowdown of human settlement in new urban cities
• It is very hard to construct new cities in the Egyptian desert and it requires
wearing effort to create an attractive community that offers better conditions and encourages people to immigrate in. The core difficulty is the absence of population base.
• Insufficient factors of population attraction such as diversified activities, i.e
administrative centers of ministries, agencies, educational and medical centers. These facilities automatically create large number of people who are either
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 38
employees or users. All new cities depended on the industrial activity only which, until now, was unable to attract except a small percentage of total employees for permanent residence in the new cities. Although the new cities offered residents appropriate living opportunities, however, permanent residence becomes a risk due to shortcomings and negative aspects. Owing to this, others are discouraged to move in.
• In the beginning, very low priced land sale was unrestricted in some cities
ending with selling complete neighborhoods to individuals who speculated an increase of land prices. Construction density shows low activities in such neighborhoods. The situation required formulating well planned sale and allocation policies1.
Lack of funding: Achieving economic development was a main goal of constructing new cities to allow an expansion of industrial and agricultural sectors aiming to create job opportunities and an increase in both production and national income. It was necessary to provide funding sources to cover the projects of infrastructure, social services and housing. However, the situation can be explained as such, an increased number of spacious cities and lack of self funding. This mix created a funding problem hindering the sustainability of developing new communities. In the early phases of constructing new cities, self funding was insufficient because of land sale policies, of some neighborhood, which failed to observe sound economic basis. Thus, the sale price was much less than the development cost. To address this problem, the agency had to borrow from the Investment Bank to finance the infrastructure and services and borrow from Construction and Housing Bank to finance housing projects. Shortcoming of implementation: Implementation problems of the infrastructure, housing, industrial and services facilities can be summed up in poor construction capacities affecting the development programs of new cities. The State consecutive 5-year plans involved multifold construction capacities; nevertheless, an evident failure to achieve the target is largely due to poor building capacities. This can be explained in detail as: lack of financial resources, skilled labor, and equipments. Shortcoming of management: The overall deficient picture of new urban cities and communities in Egypt clearly shows, in addition to poor financial resources and building capacities, a shortcoming of administrative processes in the relevant bodies. This problem negatively affects the optimal use of available resources and capacities even if they were limited. This problem comes as a result to the function of those bodies. They are in charge of implementing centrally formulated policies by the Authority of New Urban
1 Presidency, report of the National Council of Social Services and Development, 14th cycle 1993-1994
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 39
Communities. The authority is responsible for formulating policies, allocating land and
issuing licensing decrees. Thus, decisions of planning, budgeting and organization are
not part of the jurisdiction of new cities bodies.
Lack of integrated development approach:
The problems of the Egyptian experience of desert development, in its early phases,
stemmed from lack of comprehensive development approach. In this context, the
development process adopted a unilateral dimension (conventional agricultural
development). The second phase (satellite, twin and independent cities) experienced
many obstacles as a result to the imbalance between an accelerated growth of physical
structures via governmental investment and creating new communities. The last period
is not but an extension to the approach of the second phase involving huge physical
development rather than applying an integrated developmental approach working to
restore the imbalanced population distribution and reordering the national structure of
Random selection of locations:
This problem can be clearly spotted because determinants, capacities, environmental
and construction opportunities, and overall features of the sites were not clear. In this
regard, points like topography of site, earth characteristics, and flood flushes were not
considered. As a result, it ended up choosing inadequate sites for creating construction
clusters either because of earth characteristics such as the case of Al Safa city which
was supposed to be established west of Asiut, its land ownership overlapped to more
than one governmental entity, or the difficulty of constructing economic cost roads.
3.7.4 Lessons learnt from the Egyptian experience
Constructing new urban cities and communities in the desert certainly entailed hard
efforts; however, those efforts were in vain. They failed to accomplish the desired goal
and address the challenge formula of population growth and limited inhabited area. In
the following, we are going to list a number of learnt lessons derived from the Egyptian
• It is essential to develop a holistic understanding of the desert nature, and socio-
economic system before getting into constructing new urban cities and communities in the desert. In this regard, mechanisms of development and construction would need a motivating State. Desert development and construction process will not be feasible in absence of collaborative efforts and expertise.
• Plans of constructing new cities in the desert must particularly adopt a regional
development approach. In this context, this approach will encompass setting developmental objectives that are compatible with the various patterns of desert development which must be comprehensive. When we talk about comprehensive development here, we refer to planning levels (national, regional and local) as well as comprehensive economic activities (agriculture, industry, tourism, services, mining etc.).
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 40
• Expanding into the desert is an inevitable alternative agreed upon by those who
are concerned with planning. However, the penetration method is still undecided. Also there is a number of considerations that must be observed while setting the development priorities of existing new desert cities: potential benefit on the short and middle terms, learning from the magnified problems in the existing cities, socio-economic and political return, potential success in moving people to the new sites taking into consideration the social and cultural dimensions and the functional role of desert cities within the development strategy on the national level.
• It is essential to review the organization of the administrative body of the New
Urban Communities' Authority to ensure effective management of new cities. This will require an increased level of decentralization to institute an effective performance and accelerated implementation, economize on time and cost and provide stability to senior management of the authority as well as bodies of affiliated cities. It is recommended in this regard to take the following steps:
- Setting a development plan and settling authority separate from the body of the
city. It must have its own fund receiving resources from city residents who must represent various professional categories, investors, youth and heads of household. This authority will be in charge of proposing projects as required for the development of the city voicing residents' needs. Through its fund, it will contribute to implementing those projects, funding the operation and maintenance of facilities, and cost of basic social services. The board of trustees of new cities can serve as basis to this proposed authority.
- It is necessary to involve permanent representatives of the concerned ministries
in the development body of each city. This will allow the required cooperation and coordination between the authority and plans of such ministries as well as operating their services after completing the needed facilities.
- Creating a marketing body in each city comprising an information center
covering the housing, populace, investment situations and available land and all other related basic data. The body develops an awareness media plan-on the local and regional levels- regarding the benefits, investment and work opportunities. The plan must cover potential incentives, exemptions and services introduced in the given city.
- It is possible to seek services of specialized companies in managing new cities
and communities. This might motivate the continual of adopting this management approach allowing full opportunity to investment and private sector companies for engaging in the area of constructing and developing districts that would be annexed to old cities and even complete new cities and communities.
- Setting a more liberalized administrative system, enabling the cities an increased
level of independence. This will achieve the following: o The local authority of the city will be in full control of planning and
implementing civil life requirements.
o The community of the city will be empowered for an effective participation
in management instituting the democracy principles.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 41
o It is expected to accomplish an increased level of decentralization. As such,
the relation between the city and higher administrative levels will be restricted to regional and national affairs requiring State sovereignty.
3.8 Lessons learned
Egyptian deserts represent a national wealth which should be utilized to guarantee the
right of next generations to get the benefits of these capabilities. The western desert -
which have energy sources (solar energy), underground water, huge spaces – might be
the hidden wealth for Egypt, so the development of this desert should be directed to
benefit national sustainable development plans on the long run by utilizing the
capabilities of these deserts.
The establishment of new communities especially in desert areas like 6th of October city
and New Cairo represent an experiment that might be beneficial for urbanization, and
this leads to getting the direct benefits of the investments put in them because of their
closeness to the cities and the capital which facilitate the transportation means,
infrastructure, and citizens transport.
A new World Bank report (2008) thoroughly and critically analyzed the experiences
with new cities in Egypt and came to conclusions and recommendations which we quote
here in full length:
"An analysis of the new towns shows that there are fundamental problems which have
never been recognized and which bring into doubt that idea that the new towns will ever
generate the huge population shifts for which they were intended. This revolves around
three main axes:
1. In the GOE's attempt to create a modern society in the new towns, high urban
planning standards have been imposed which precluded the kinds of housing typically generated in existing cities and have proscribed the kinds of informal businesses which generate most employment opportunities in urban Egypt and which poorer urban Egyptians rely on.
2. Distances to new towns from existing agglomerations are enormous and most
new towns are not connected to existing urban fabrics through functioning mass transit systems.
3. Land distribution policies within the new towns have been wholesale and
mechanistic, as if location does not count. There are huge distances within new towns, and there appears to be no sense of logical horizontal expansion from mature cores. In addition there are only few attempts at capturing the un-earned increment due to land value increases. There also has been poor build-out of lands allocated to the private sector, particularly plots in subdivisions allocated to individuals.
In effect, the new towns have been created by and burdened with spatial supply-driven policies and wholesale land distribution attitudes which, in spite of the best of
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 42
intentions, simply do not begin to fit with or stimulate the urban processes and markets that have dominated the dynamics of urbanization in Egypt and which continue to replicate themselves in existing agglomerations. Although some of the new towns, yet those around Greater Cairo, are attracting large amounts of private capital, but, as revealed in the discussion of 6th of October below, such capital has mostly gone into speculative housing and commercial investments which are mostly vacant, idle, or stalled. This in turn reflects the immaturity of capital investment markets in Egypt and the instinct of both corporations and individuals to invest in land and real estate, where eventual returns through resale will (hopefully) eclipse those in industry, equity markets, or savings bonds. Recommendations In general terms, there is a wholesale need for reform of the development philosophy for new towns, particularly in terms of land management. This means that systemic reform is needed in the following areas:
Reconsider what is the economic rationale behind each new town, especially in light of the increasing liberalization of Egypt's economy.
Take a thorough look at the location advantages and disadvantages of each new town, including proximity to forward and backward linkages and supply chains.
Formulate strategies for new towns to take advantage of Egypt's real estate boom which is largely generated by the huge accumulation of capital in Middle Eastern countries and the resulting liquidity.
Formulate strategies for better linkages and integration with existing nearby urban agglomerations. New towns can not be treated as isolated geographic entities.
Combat the speculative intent in land disposal; in particular, reclaim and recycle previous land allocations, densifying the city cores and re-establishing logical land development sequences.
Address public transport problems, with solutions tailored to each town and its geographical context.
Avoid or at least rationalize subsidies (which implies identifying them first, especially those that are indirect or hidden).
Avoid wishful thinking and non-transparent planning.
Implied in these recommendations is the need for an economic feasibility review of all existing new towns, and a thorough look at whether or not any further new towns should be established. In fact, until Egypt's new towns policy is redirected towards economic realities and justified in terms of locational rationales, a moratorium should be put on the creation of any more new towns." (World Bank 2008, p.8ff.)
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 43
Figure 7: New Towns and other desert development around Greater Cairo
(World Bank 2008, p.52)
As the Egyptian experience shows, the establishment of new communities based on the complete movement of the citizens is not feasible without ensuring adequate infrastructure, services, transportation means, daily life tools, cultural attractions, and even special incentives (i.e. tax cuts, subsidies).1 Otherwise the old approach of creating new cities will very likely lead to deserting these cities and defusing the investments put in them like the examples of 10th of Ramadan, Sadat, and Badr cities clearly prove. Movement to the desert is not an impossible matter, but it needs good urban management for the development projects directed to these regions, and also these new communities which have plenty of life and environmental constituents, and need managerial flexibility to get the mutual benefits.
1 At the same time citizens (often tribes) who already live in some of the desert areas should be taken care of. Their sensitive balance between social, economic and ecological dimensions is based on long experience and should be taken seriously. See ethnological studies for instance by Frank Bliss 1989.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 44
4-City Development Strategies
4.1 City Development Strategies in Egypt
These parts of the study try to outline the Government of Egypt's (GOE) efforts for the
presentation of City Development Strategies at the United Nations General Assembly at
its June 2004 special session (Istanbul+5). Its focus is on two sub-themes and key items
of the HABITAT Agenda, namely: Shelter and City Development Strategies. It is
understood that this session has two objectives. The first objective is to review and to
assess the implementation of the HABITAT Agenda (Istanbul 1996). The second
objective is to exchange information and to learn lessons derived from the
implementation in various countries.1
Since 1996, GOE efforts (the beginning of new development long run plan). The project
of regarding shelter for all can be illustrated using two cases of projects, namely:
"Mubarak Youth Housing Project" and "The Future Housing Project", each of which is
aiming at constructing 70,000 dwelling units.
Reform Program "Shelter For All in EGYPT", 1996 – 2001
Government of Egypt integrated the rights of low-income/disadvantaged groups to
appropriate shelter and affordable housing in its economic reform program, which
began in the early 1990s. This integration has been made on the basis of an
indigenous cultural value of "Eltakaful El-Egtemaie" or social solidarity. This value
means the responsibility of capable/wealthy groups towards disadvantaged/poor
ones, the result of which is social solidarity. This value can be achieved either
through direct donations or cross–subsidy mechanisms.
Mubarak Youth Housing Project
"Mubarak Youth Housing Project" had started in 1996. Its aim was to provide 70,000
affordable dwelling units, in a healthy and productive residential environment. The
beneficiaries were the youth who belong to the disadvantaged/low-income groups. The
project was completed in December 2000, and its units were distributed in 15 new
The project was formulated to offer a wide range of floor spaces (100-70-63 sq. m.) in
order to satisfy the needs of different household sizes. The designs of both dwellings
and layouts had been chosen through national architectural competitions. The chosen
designs fulfill the targeted requirements of gross residential density (120 persons/acre)
and a maximum height (5 floors) to allow for ample green areas, parking spaces, and
various social services.
The project costs about L.E. 2.75 billion. Of this amount, the state cross-subsidized
nearly 40% from the sales of high-income residential areas and dwellings in both new
1 Thematic Committee- 6 - 8 June 2001- Shelter programmes and City Development Strategies in Egypt.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 45
cities and resorts. This is in exclusion of price of serviced land, which is also financed
from these revenues. In addition, the State offered L.E. 1 billion in subsidized credit in
the form of soft loans of L.E. 15,000 per unit, payable over 40 years at 5% interest rate.
The dwelling units were allocated according to objective criteria, which had been
investigated to ensure the legibility of beneficiaries.
After the successful completion of the project, the State is now developing new
mechanisms to replicate the project in a larger scale during the next five years. The
objective of these developments is to mobilize more resources from capable/wealthy
groups to support the youth of disadvantaged groups, e.g. participation of businessmen,
contractors real estate companies and financial institutions (especially private ones).
GOE efforts are not confined to securing houses for disadvantaged households but are
extended to improving their living environments/services/standards to be healthy and
productive. This can be illustrated by presenting two cases of urban development
projects, namely: "The Comprehensive Development for the City of Luxor", and
"Sustainable Ismailia Governorate Project".
The Future Housing Project
In February 1998, her Excellency Mrs. Susan Mubarak called for a new social contract
between the capable/wealthy and disadvantaged/poor groups of the society as regards
housing. In March 1998, a non-governmental organization named "Gameyet el
Mostaqbal" (Society of the Future) was especially established to supervise
implementation of the project. The board of this NGO is composed of businessmen in
real estate, manufacturing and construction. Thus, "The Future Housing Project" has
been launched in an innovative way that builds up social solidarity and partnership.
The project is designed to construct 70,000 dwelling units with an area of 63 sq. m.
/unit, at an estimated total cost of L.E 2.1 billion, without the cost of land. This number
of units will be implemented on three phases over a period of 6 years (15,000 in the first
phase, 25,000 in the second phase, and 20,000 units in the third phase). The private
sector responded quickly, as investors/wealthy people pledged to raise L.E. 1 billion
over 6 years, thus covering 50% of the total cost. The state is to cover the other half of
this cost, in addition to the supply of land with infrastructure and basic services. The
project offers a subsidized credit in the form of soft loans of L.E. 14,000 per unit,
payable over 40 years at 5% interest rate.
4.2 City Development Strategies
4.2.1 The Comprehensive Development for the City of Luxor Project
Luxor, is one of the world's most treasured antiquities sites and it is on the exclusive
UNESCO World Heritage Site List, listing 560 natural and cultural sites worldwide.
In 1989, the city of Luxor was given a special status by a Presidential decree creating
the Higher Council for Luxor City (HCLC), modifying its boundaries, granting
jurisdictional authority given to a Governorate. Luxor area had a population of 360,000
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 46
in 1996. Luxor city is the major population center in this antiquities area with about 175,000 residents at that time. It is located 635 km. South of Cairo, stretched approximately 5 km. north – south and 1.5 km. east–west. Tourism and related services employ about 42% of the total labor force. Agriculture is the second employer (29%). Industrial production is insignificant (6.3%) and focuses on tourism–related products (e.g. rugs, carpets, papyrus, alabaster).1 City of Luxor is facing many problems. Urban sprawl threatens historical sites as well as agricultural land. Many parts of the city are lacking infrastructure. Cairo–Aswan railway track generates vibrations that threaten the safety of temples. Raising underground water table poses a similar threat. Uncontrolled cruise traffic gave raise to serious environmental problems, such as sewerage and other discharges from the vessels. Rapid and uncontrolled growth of cruise travel has brought serious traffic and environmental troubles. Luxor needs to maintain its viability as a desired tourist destination, and accommodate the rapid expansion of tourism and agriculture. Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities has extended technical assistance (together with UNDP and HABITAT) to the Higher Council for Luxor City to formulate and implement a strategic development plan for sustainable development of Luxor. The project will create an efficient framework for guiding development, attracting investment from the private sector and international institutions for priority projects; establish a realistic program to deal with the deterioration of the monuments and upgrade the surrounding sites; produce physical plans and feasibility studies for two new settlements (one of them is a residential city and the other is a hotel zone) in order to attract urban growth away from the existing resources and to facilitate future developments of tourism and related industries; involve the local community in the development process and encourage the involvement of private associations in linked activities; create a diversified employment base in greater Luxor to increase the stability and sustainability of its economy; improve the standard of living especially the disadvantaged groups through the implementation of Sustainable Livelihood Approach (SLA). SLA in Luxor entails activities directed to link macro with micro levels of both investment and administration in order to enhance governance and stimulate economic development. It is intended to benefit youth/women/disadvantaged groups in specific issues of job creation and poverty eradication. In order to achieve its intentions, SLA program came out with five projects, namely: 1) incubation center for small industries in Luxor; 2) Technical Access Community Center (TACC); 3) the implementation of five community action plans through NGOs; 4) Initiation of a Micro Start Credit Program (MSCP); and 5) start up of skills building programs for disadvantaged groups.
1Thematic Committee- 6 - 8 June 2001- Shelter programmer and City Development Strategies in Egypt.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 47
Consultant Developer and Council of Luxor city CDCL project is using urban planning
and management techniques developed by the Sustainable Cities Programme (SCP),
particularly consultations and working groups as a participatory interface between the
international consulting consortium preparing the development plan and the interested
parties. The working groups have assessed the current situation, highlighting major
issues, problems, development needs and deficiencies. Furthermore, the working groups
provide inputs to the consortium and participate in the decision–making process
The CDCL had an executive unit, which guided the project through the major activities.
The CDCL Project proposed that the structure will take the form of a board of directors.
This board will be sponsored by the first lady, Mrs. Suzan Mubarak and headed by the
Prime Minister as its chairperson and with representatives of concerned parties as well
as the Governor of Luxor. This board of directors maintained a clear vision for the
development of Luxor, and made sure that implementation of all the individual
investment project is done in accordance with the vision as stated by the CDCL. This
board did not supersede the role of the City Council of Luxor, but guided the activities
in a manner that enables inter-ministerial coordination.
Through the participatory approaches used, including city consultations and Thematic
working groups, the project has been able to ensure involvement of various parties in
the comprehensive development planning process. The project was organized by a
donor round table to fund the plan.
It has to be mentioned that the project proposal presented in 1989 was not executed as
intended. Therefore, the big efforts of the most senior and best planning professors in
Egypt were lost to transform this huge area in Egypt into residential regions . The main
reason behind this neglect was that the irrelevant decision makers were directing the
focus of development toward the north of the country, at the same time ignoring the
south. Today, after twenty years, we can observe that development efforts now are
directed eventually toward the same region (Luxor) and with projects similar to what
previous reports aimed but according to new political ways.
4.2.2 Sustainable Ismailia Governorate Project" (SIGP)
Ismailia Governorate area is approximately 4480 sq. km. approximately. It is located
along the west and east bank of the Suez Canal. It comprises five cities (Markaz).
According to 1996 census, total population is about 700,000 persons. Ismailia city is the
capital of the Governorate with a population of about 221,000 persons.
Ismailia Governorate has a diversified economic base. Its climate and soil conditions
promote the Governorate as Egypt's significant fruits and vegetables producer. Its
potentials for hosting recreational and tourist establishments are evident along the
waterfront of Lake Timsah and Greater Bitter Lakes. Ismailia's location as the hub–city
1 Thematic Committee- 6 - 8 June 2001- Shelter programmes and City Development Strategies in Egypt.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 48
for the canal region puts it at cross roads to Cairo, Suez, Port–Said and Sinai. This location grants an attractive position for clean industries and exporting outlet for Egypt agricultural products. Also, the construction of El–Ferdan Bridge over the Suez Canal, the establishment of The Valley of Technology as well as El–Salam irrigation canal for land reclamation project will greatly contribute to the development of Ismailia Governorate. The Governorate has common environmental economic problems, namely: the limited and low quality water resources, limited access of most human settlements to adequate waste water collection and treatment services, the small employment constrains inhibiting micro enterprises, entrepreneurs suffering from limited access to business management knowledge (mainly marketing and technology) and the failure to attract large scale private business and capital. Lake Timsah and Great Bitter Lakes are subject to acute pollution threatening the tourism industry and fishing activities. There are conflicts between urban expansion and agricultural activities. Also, land reclamation projects are putting more demands on water resources and cause environmental problems, particularly the increasing volume of drainage.1 Following the success of "Sustainable Ismailia Project" (SIP-1) – which only dealt with Ismailia City - the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (HABITAT), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), Social Fund for Development (SFD), and the Governorate of Ismailia had agreed to replicate and to finance similar projects to cover the entire Governorate. The project document of SIGP (or SIP-II) was signed in May 1997 and its activities have started in August 1997, and are being executed by the Ismailia Governorate, with UNCHS (HABITAT) as the cooperating agency. The main objectives of the SIGP project were: •
Strengthening the local capacity to plan, coordinate, and manage environmental
development through applying the Environmental Planning and Management Approach (EPM).
Preparing long strategic development plans.
Preparing public investment project proposals to mobilize funds, which in turn
create job opportunities.
Capacity building for different sectors of the society, including leaders,
members of NGOs and CBOs, where women and youth has been given special attention.
Because one of the priorities raised by the city consultations was slum upgrading
in which many disadvantaged groups are living, an application was submitted to the joint World Bank / UNCHS, Cities Alliance for additional funding to prepare feasibility studies for upgrading two pilot areas (El-Hallous and El-Bahtini).2
Results can be summarized as follows: The environmental profiles of Ismailia Governorate and the four cities have been completed and training center rehabilitated,
1 Thematic Committee- 6 - 8 June 2001- Shelter programmes and City Development Strategies in Egypt.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 49
where project training activities are taking place. The training center, managed by an
NGO, serves various sustainable development-training requirements within the
Governorate. The environmental planning and management approach has been
institutionalized as the Governorate has established a sustainable development council
(chaired by the Governor of Ismailia) at the Governorate level, and other five
committees for Sustainable Development at the city level. The Governorate has
commenced working on activities of Cities-Alliance-Funded project aiming at
producing feasibility studies for slum upgrading (social and physical surveys already
completed). The project is also developing a framework for replication at the national
level with the Ministry of Local Development, as the main focal point, together with
other partners at the national level. Several projects were identified for each "Markaz"
with a priority for two of them.1
Other projects have benefited from the Ismailia experience, "The national
Environmental Action Plan Project" (NEAP), in cooperation with Ministry of
Environmental Affairs; SIGP arranged a training workshop for heads of departments of
environment in all Governorates of Egypt. The workshop was held at the sustainable
development center for training and capacity building where the trainees were trained
on different leadership skills that were acquired through SIGP project, particularly EPM
The Canadian Egyptian International Fund selected the Association of Development
and Environment to be the implementing partner in Ismailia. So far the Canadian
Egyptian International Fund has financed four projects.
4.3 City Development Strategies around the World - Examples
4.3.1 Example of Eco-City of Yazd in Iran
The theme of this part of the study is the green dimension of urban and architecture
design in Yazd as an oasis in the middle of deserts in the centre of Iran where people
were able to adapt to very hard climate condition throughout millenniums. Studying the
residential tissues in this shows that the architectural characteristics of the ancient and
traditional parts of habitation complex - before being modernized- are according to the
new paradigms of eco-architecture, sustainability and ecological city theories at a time
when the global environment appears increasingly fragile.
Timeless Way of Sustainable Building
Sustainability in any urban development is non-damaging to the environment and also
contributes to the city's ability to sustain its social and economic structures. The
objectives of an agenda of urban design in a regime of sustainable development would
emphasize the conservation of both the natural and built environments. Principals of
sustainable urban design would place priority on the adaptation and re-use of existing
building, infrastructure and roads, together with the re-use of recycled building
1 Thematic Committee- 6 - 8 June 2001- Shelter programmes and City Development Strategies in Egypt.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 50
materials and components. Where new development is necessary, the pattern of such
development and its structures should minimize the use of energy consumed in traveling
between essential activities and also in the operation of the buildings. Sustainable
development places a premium on the conservation of natural resources, wildlife and
habitat protection. It also assumes high degrees of self-sufficiency at all levels of
The Urban Structure of Yazd
Yazd province is located in the central part of Iran; the neighboring deserts, as well as a
scanty rainfall give the province a dry climate. There is a variety of climates in this
province with altitudes of 850m to 4,055m (Shirkooh, whose summit is snow-covered
all the year around). The average annual rainfall is 60mm. The temperature variation is
so high in winter and summer, even at day and night, between +45 to - 20°C, with the
average being 11.9 up to 20.7°C. Most of the Yazd province is of a desert nature. The
city has a 3000 year long history, dating back to the time of the Median empire, an
ancient settler of Iran. In the course of history, due to its distance from important
capitals and its harsh natural surrounding, Yazd remained immune to major troops'
movements and destruction from wars, therefore it kept many of its traditions, city
forms and architecture until recent times. There are common structural and physical
features in the layout of cities in most of the desert cities. The complicated and
interrelated factors that have shaped the historic architecture and urban form in desert
regions are mostly affected by climatic characteristics. The urban form of traditional
city of Yazd is highly centralized or inward looking.
Certainly, the orientation and relation to the environment has been of high importance
in the planning of the city. The particular climatic problems caused the people of the
hot, arid zone to find solutions through their settlements architecture. The high radiation
and temperature in the summer, variation of temperature, seasonal variations from dry,
hot summer to cold, dry winter, low humidity, limited water supplies and the dusty
winds are the most important factors in forming the urban structure of Yazd.
In this "compact city", high-density urban structures of mixed land use are thought to
promote walking and cycling as the main modes of movement for short distances.
While on an urban scale, the street appears as if carved out of a mass, yet in reality the
wall defining it is a thin membrane at the building scale.
Concentrated urban texture diminishes the penetration of dusty wind into complex as far
as heat-influence on the building surfaces. Covered passageways and narrow alleys with
long walls in clay make the shade and thermal comfort conditions in the hot summers.
In addition, their direction is made in a way to avoid hot summer sun rays and stormy
1 Case study1: Yazd AREZOU MONSHIZADE, CRESSON Laboratory, National School of Architecture- Grenoble Pierre Mendès-France University
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 51
winds. The organic network of ways (passage, alley, cul-de-sac) has been made
according to ground slope and underground water canals.1
The skyline has been dominated by fantastic mud brick towers, giving the city an
incredible urban aestheticism. These wind towers serve three fundamental functions: to
ventilate basements, to provide convective cooling and to cool the interior mass of the
house. "These wind towers are rectangular with facing openings to catch favorable wind
and the slightest movement of air and direct it downward into underground spaces. This
model has become a part of the identity of this city in coping with natural forces for
many centuries, yet now it has been abandoned in modern architecture.
The form of developed part of Yazd has entirely changed. In the new city set out in the
form of a grid, the streets and alleys are not similar to the past with the protection role
that provides the shadow for passenger in hot summer.
The Residential Building Design in Yazd
The form of the residential building is also inward looking and is centralized by a deep
courtyard. The built spaces around this court have been designed to maximize its
passive potential to warm the house in winter when sun angles have the maximum
penetration into the winter room.
Architects have used the massive form of the building, with rubble filled spaces in walls
and roofs, hypercausts made of partially filled cavities, and shade walls and roofs not
only to ensure that the sun never fell on, for instance, a thinner part of the roof, or inside
rooms in summer with angled walls, but also they used the curve of the domes and
vaults to minimize solar gain into the room below and speed up heat loss from the room
through ventilated cupolas.2
The habitants, according to the space functions and their climatic conditions in the
different seasons, choose how to spend their time: in the canicular hot and dry summer's
days. Almost the Underground spaces and the space in the shadow (north-east, south-
east) are being used for running away from this heat. These underground spaces have
the more low temperature compared to the up spaces. In the winter days, the living
rooms face south toward the low winter sun; provide the conditions for the reduction in
need of fossil energy.
The principles of Sustainable Architecture Gleaned from Vernacular Architecture.
In the urban scale, the model of this compact city of Yazd is designed according to
principles of the sustainable urban design. "Certainly the compact city and densification
of development" can reduce the use of fossil fuels for transport and town heating, as
well as reduce the use of land and the cost of urban infrastructure. The organic model
1 Case study1: Yazd AREZOU MONSHIZADE, CRESSON Laboratory National School of Architecture- Grenoble Pierre Mendès-France University 2 Case study1: Yazd AREZOU MONSHIZADE, CRESSON Laboratory National School of Architecture- Grenoble Pierre Mendès-France University
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 52
for the city is most in tune with the concept of sustainable development as, in particular,
it takes on the attributes of nature's ecosystem."
According to the urban task force, the sustainable city –or more accurately speaking, a
city that approximates to a sustainable form-is a compact and flexible structure in which
the parts are connected to each other and to the whole, with a clearly articulated public
space. At the smaller scale, there are a number of design principles of buildings which
are going to be studied and analyzed here, resulting from this vernacular architecture.
Social Dim- (Compatibility with Regional Context)
The vernacular tradition has much to teach in the art of relating the building to its site.
This common-sense approach to the location of a building on its site and the
organization of the building elements to mitigate the adverse effects of a hot summer
has valuable lessons for the greening of building design. In this case study, buildings are
designed to match with local climate and the environment, the living rooms in the
southern parts and bedrooms with the main windows maximizing the benefit of any sun
for the cold winter. The summer spaces, in the northern side and wind catcher show the
solutions for compatibility with the climate and local conditions.
The Life Styles
The last subject, which also needs more consideration, is the different ways and styles
of living for maximizing the use of environment. It seems that the cultural particularities
according to people's view to the world and their environment characteristics help to
adapt and respect the laws of nature. The most important requirement for life in desert is
to have personal particularities in compatibility with natural environment as much as of
which are social. We can find them clearly in peoples everyday life in this region. The
first is having the working mentality for defeating the hard conditions and transforming
environmental limits into potentials. The second is to be sufficient to what the nature
gives to the inhabitant though little. The third is thinking ahead, a characteristic imposed
by limits of hard nature for earning one's living that sustain him/her and future
generations without fear of the future. These three characteristics help the person to
sustain the life at least in good conditions. Attempts must continue generation after
generation. This approach helps people to better know their needs and environmental
potentials. Citizen participation in development and the political structures, which
sustain it, is clearly an essential requirement of local and regional government in a
Economic Dim- (Using The Local Materials)
The second principle gleaned from this study is using local regional building materials
for construction work where possible; it is preferable to use materials requiring low
inputs of non-renewable energy in fabrication, transportation to the site and in the
construction process itself. Those materials, which are labour-intensive rather than
energy-intensive in their extraction, covering and construction being more
1 Case study 1: Yazd AREZOU MONSHIZADE, CRESSON Laboratory, National School of Architecture- Grenoble Pierre Mendès-France University . http://doc.cresson.grenoble.archi.fr/pmb/opac_css/doc_num.php?explnum_id=278
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 53
environmentally friendly and equitable in terms of the distribution of resources, are
more acceptable for purposes of sustainability. The used materials such as clay and mud
in this region require people's efforts only to build a structure from them.
It should be mentioned here, that most people on this planet live in buildings made from
earth. Building from earth does the least damage to the environment: It is close to the
building site and does not involve transport energy costs. Until the later stages of the
industrial revolution in the nineteenth-century, settlements were constructed largely
from building materials obtained close to the site. Moreover, when no longer required,
the building decomposes naturally and without pollution, return to the earth from where
it came before. In OECD-countries there are more and more people asking for such
buildings due to their natural and healthy qualities.
Re-Using and Re-Cycling
The forth principle features the priority given to
- Re-use of buildings.
These are buildings designed for flexibility so that a mix of uses can be accommodated
under the same roof and so that floor plans are "robust", in the sense that they can be
adapted for different uses during the lifetime of the building. A building, which can be
used for many different purposes and is easily adapted to serve many different activities
during its lifetime, has a flexibility that reduces the need for demolition and rebuilding
to serve changing needs. Re-using and recycling of building materials and components
in the construction of new building and infrastructure was the main feature of this
regional building. Nowadays, the flexibility of ancient buildings has allowed them to be
re-used with the different functions such as schools, offices, restaurants, and hotels in
the traditional architecture.1
Environmental Dim – Reducing the Environmental Damage
Another principle is to mitigate the effects of any environmental damage and to avoid
the materials that cause environmental damage. Today, all new buildings cause
environmental damage, no matter how carefully they are designed. Much of the
atmospheric pollution is caused by the burning of fossil fuels in the creation of energy
to support city life. This energy is used in the building of city structures (energy
capital); during the lifetime of the structure; and in the transportation of people and
goods between and within cities (energy revenue). It is considered that two types of
energy are used in building: energy used to construct the building and energy used to
service, operate and maintain the building.
The pollution causing environmental damage can be directly attributed to the
construction process. "For example, 50 percent of the world's fossil fuel is directly
1 Sustainable Development in a Desert Climate- 4th Edition. DOWNTOWN PHOENIX Plan.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 54
related to serving and using building materials, transporting them to the site, and
erecting them as part of the building."
Moreover, using the local materials, not wasting the materials by reusing them, reducing
the transport between the site and the resource, making the restoration possibility of
building help to reduce the environmental pollutions.1
4.3.2 Sustainable Development in a Desert Climate in Phoenix- Arizona
The Downtown Phoenix Plan provides an assessment of the conditions affecting the
thermal comfort of pedestrians and the Urban Heat Island Effect in Downtown Phoenix
Arizona. It also provides a set of principles, that may be implemented in the form of
zoning standards and building code regulations that, when adopted, will create a more
comfortable and sustainable downtown environment. It is based on an extensive year-
long research project by Arizona State University (ASU) and the architectural firm
Thermal comfort is a key to the success of Downtown Phoenix. Extreme summer heat
has resulted in stressful street level conditions in the Downtown area, to the extent that
is has a negative impact on the development of a pedestrian-friendly, civic
Acceptable levels of thermal comfort can be achieved in Downtown through an
approach integrated to the design of the urban environment that includes street and
building proportions, open space, urban forestry, building design and appropriate
Urban Dim – of Heat Island
Urban Heat Island is the temperature difference between densely populated urban areas
and the surrounding countryside. This effect is most pronounced during evening hours
and is due in large part to the increased thermal storage created by urban materials
which, like concrete paving, tend to be dense and impervious to water. By replacing
native vegetation with pavement, less moisture is absorbed by the ground and by plants
resulting in the loss of evapotranspiration.3 Building materials are often darker than
natural materials and have a lower ability to reflect solar radiation back to the sky
resulting in further increases in surface temperature.
Examining the Phoenix region over the 20th century, average annual temperature has
increased 5.53°F but a rapid threefold increase has occurred in urban areas of the
region. The 0.86°F/decade warming rate for Phoenix is one of the highest in the world
1 Case study1: Yazd AREZOU MONSHIZADE, CRESSON Laboratory, National School of Architecture- Grenoble Pierre Mendès-France University
2 Sustainable Development in a Desert Climate- 4th Edition. DOWNTOWN PHOENIX Plan.
3 Evapotranspiration is a term used to describe the sum of evaporation and plant transpiration from the Earth's land surface to atmosphere. Evaporation accounts for the movement of water to the air from sources such as the soil, canopy interception, and waterbodies. (Wikipedia)
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 55
for a population of its size and can be compared to other cities to highlight the effects of
rapid urbanization in the region.
The US Climate Assessment conservatively projects that the Southwest will see a 5.4°F
increase in mean annual temperatures by 2100. This increase is much higher than the
3.1 °F increase in the last 70 years. Urban heat island increases are likely to be much
higher in the coming decades than in the past. 1
Environmental Dim - Pollution Street Canyons
Airborne pollutants accumulate in the urban canopy layer and rely upon an effective
airflow to be "flushed out" and removed. Products of internal combustion engines,
Carbon Monoxide and Nitrous Oxide accumulate in dense urban canyons. Along with
dust and diesel emissions, this forms the background pollution found in most dense
urban streets. Studies conducted in Europe (Mazzeo 2006) indicate that pollution levels
increase in a 1:1 street canyon when wind speed falls below five miles an hour due to
the lack of sufficient vertical circulation in the street canyon.
Narrow streets and large buildings perpendicular to the direction of airflow restrict the
movement of air, directing it up and over the built up urban area known as the "urban
canopy layer." Studies indicate that a 1:1 street canyon proportion is at the lower end of
the threshold for effective wind ventilation with the ideal width to height proportion
being 0.65 (Oke 1988). In addition, streets arranged as long channels perpendicular to
the wind, while allowing effective flow, do not produce sufficient turbulence to flush
out particulates from the street canyon.
Social Dim – Urban Impact (Form Massing Standerds)
Given the assumptions and simulations noted above, the Urban Form Project is
proposing the following building massing, street wall and open space guidelines for
high rise commercial and residential districts which should be considered when
developing urban form standards:
• Maximum lot coverage of 80-90% (or 10-20% open space) not including alleys. • Building base not to exceed 8 stories.
• Building projections of 10m permitted in the right way (creates effective street canyon proportion of 1:1.5). • Maximum lot coverage of 50% above 8 stories base. • Towers to be located in diagonally opposite corners.
• The average street canyon proportion is not to exceed 1:2 – measured over the entire block (average of base and tower). • Minimize building sections to encourage natural ventilation.2
1 Sustainable Development in a Desert Climate- 4th Edition. DOWNTOWN PHOENIX Plan.
2 Sustainable Development in a Desert Climate- 4th Edition. DOWNTOWN PHOENIX Plan.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 56
Following these guidelines will result in the minimum required street level shading
while also allowing for appropriate levels of sky view and air circulation. Limiting lot
coverage, as discussed, will reduce the overall proportion of building mass to open
space to 50% which enhances air movement in the street canyon. The checkerboard
tower placement and open space erosion of the base block creates passages for wind
movement in the east-west direction as well as creating turbulence within the urban
canopy layer which enhances heat exchange and the removal of air pollution. The
distribution of the open space through the block also enhances air movement through
natural, cross ventilation; thereby reducing the need for air-conditioning spaces with
operable windows and providing air movement for pedestrian comfort. Distributed open
space creates spatial variety in the urban environment and can be enhanced through the
development of porticoes, pocket parks, courtyards and through-block connectors. A
number of large Downtown developments such as Renaissance Center and the Wells
Fargo Center have used these features to create a pleasant pedestrian network linking
City Hall to the Convention Center. The proposed urban form guidances are designed to
continue and enhance this type of development, connecting the core to other parts of
Economic Dim -Policies – Building Form and Shade in the Phonix Climate
Standards related to thermal comfort and heat gain are described below. Research is
presented, and standards based on the research are then included as policies.
– Adopt thermal comfort and sustainability standards for building form in
Downtown to optimize thermal comfort, minimize heat gain, and enhance air flow.
– Encourage the location of buildings and shade structures to maximize shade over
road intersections and mid-block pedestrian crossings over major streets.
– Construct shading materials for trellises and canopies of low mass, non conductive
– Prepare a development standard requiring 50 percent of habitable roof areas,
including parking decks, to be shaded with trees, trellis vines, photovoltaic panels, or a combination thereof.
– Prepare development standards for roofing materials to reduce heat gain using the
Standard Reflectivity Index (SRI).
– Consider establishing standards for the use of permeable paving materials for
public and private development.
– Prepare development standards requiring construction using wall materials with
high levels of reflectivity and emissivity with smooth surfaces and the ability to emit heat to the surrounding environment.
– Provide development standards that require a minimum of 50 percent shade in
publicly accessible plazas, courtyards, and other public spaces (publicly or privately owned).1
1 Sustainable Development in a Desert Climate- 4th Edition. DOWNTOWN PHOENIX Plan.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 57
4.4 Lessons Learned for Egypt
4.4.1 Lessons from Luxor & Ismailia
A central lesson derived from the two housing projects is that city development efforts
should be based on culturally relative values. This cultural relativism ensures a full
support and participation of all citizens. It also magnifies its effects through a general
tendency for replication in other locations in the country or in the society.
- International cooperation facilitates the adoption and the implementation of objectives
and the approaches of the HABITAT Agenda. Consequently, this cooperation ought to
be enhanced through increasing technical assistance and financial support. The
effectiveness of this cooperation can be ensured through a deep understanding of the
development needs and other cultural considerations of each country, especially
- City development projects illustrate the importance of building trust and maintaining
support from the relevant political authorities in a SCP project. For the SCP / EPM
process to succeed and to spread, the governmental partners need to adopt it – and
commit to their own resources.
- The public sector agencies saw that the actions and projects developed in a
participatory way through the SCP / EPM process offered an opportunity for more
effective and sustainable development interventions than some of the more traditional
centrally-planned projects. As a result, various Government bodies "picked up"
proposals (many government officers were on the working group) and contributed to the
majority of funds to the actions which have been implemented to date, although funds
have continued to come from a variety (including private and public) of sources.
- City development projects should perhaps put greater emphasis on awareness raising,
training, and capacity building in the very early stages of project implementation, to go
in parallel direction with issue identification and clarification. This awareness is needed,
not only during the implementation phase but also, thereafter to attain sustainability.
- To raise awareness in city development projects, both of the general environmental
situation and specific local environment issues, requires the use of professionally
organized and systematic public information tools and methods. In particular, reaching
different target audiences requires different approaches – and requires specialist expert
and the budget lines necessary to properly finance public information activities.
- Perhaps, some stakeholders may not be willing to cooperate or share information and
some of them may not always be able to attend the group meetings. Therefore, careful
selection of stakeholders, the complete explanation of the EPM process to and
orientation of those on their expected roles and inputs, should be given considerable
- Project management, which provides consistent leadership, based on a sensitive
understanding of the local area, an ability to build consensus and mobilize partners, and
skills in negotiating cooperation and agreement has been a factor mentioned by nearly
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 58
all persons with knowledge of the indicated projects. Equally important, in the SIP case
what appears as the most important factor has been the ability of project management to
maintain a low profile, letting other organizations and actors take a lead - and take
- One of the lessons is the need to get potential funding sources involved at an early
stage in developing solutions to problems, and projects to implement those solutions.
- It is worthy to indicate that three active, inspired, and highly qualified women direct
the three city development projects presented above. It is evident that Egypt is fully
aware of and genuinely practices gender equity.
4.4.2 Lessons from Yazd and Phoenix
In spite of harsh climatic conditions, urban spaces and architecture in the arid and hot
region that have been dealt with in this paper identify a continuous, evolution
- In an overview, the compact form of city, wind towers, orientation of buildings to sun
and wind, arrangement of the summer and winter spaces, using local materials and clean
energies as the environmental potentials, the narrow and covered passageways, the
underground spaces, deep courtyards, thick walls, using the water and plants, reusing
the materials, are some considerable solutions in urban and architectural design of this
region for having the green city even in the actual theme.
- It is useful for us to learn from history that settlements, at best, are manifestations of
human creativity. From their very origins people have planned their settlements and
there is much that we can learn from the ideas and design concepts, skills and even rules
that have been adopted throughout history with conscience.
- The principles of sustainable architecture gleaned from vernacular architecture of
Yazd showed that old cities can be manifestations of a culture of sustainability, passing
on the baton of urban stewardship from generation to generation in a friendly relation
- Future cities can learn a great deal from this model, even if we can not simply import
traditional practices into the 21stcentury unchanged. Such examples like Yazd show that
there are limits to the growth of cities, in the past, as well as today.
4.5 Arab Experience of Sustainable Cities Activities
4.5.1 Constraints for sustainable development in the Arab Countries
Efforts to achieve sustainable development in the Arab Countries are facing major
constraints, which include:
1. Instability resulting from the lack of peace and security in the region and the
inability of the world community to resolve the occupation of the Palestinian
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 59
and other Arab territories on just and equitable bases and in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions.
2. Escalating poverty, illiteracy, high population growth rates, unemployment and
the debt burden and increased debt servicing, as well as the continued unsustainable pattern of natural resources management.
3. Continued population increase and the unbalanced distribution between rural
and urban areas, spreading of slums around major cities, increased pressure on the natural resource base, as well as on the public utilities and services, air pollution, and solid waste accumulation.
4. The severe arid nature of the region, with little and sparse rainfall, very high
temperatures in the summer months with high evaporation and evapotranspiration leading to frequent droughts and spread of desertification.
5. Limited areas available for agriculture, water scarcity and shortage of non-
renewable sources of energy.
6. The limited capacity of academic and research institutions and the inability to
keep up with the advances in providing technologies for sustainable development.
7. The relatively limited experience of the civil society in participating in the
process of development and implementation of sustainable development programmes and activities.
8. The adoption of technologies and approaches which are not suitable for the
social, economic and environmental conditions of the region.
9. The embargo inflicted upon some Arab countries.
4.5.2 Challenges and opportunities:
There are also challenges and opportunities that could be utilized to achieve
sustainable development in Arab countries:
1. Combating poverty which represent a basic challenge to the efforts of
achieving sustainable development in the Arab Region. This requires judicious utilization of available resources and the establishment of an environment for conducive investment at the national and regional levels, a mechanism for achieving social security at the national level, in addition to establishing an integrated mechanism between the Arab countries, giving priority for employment of Arab labor force.
2. Addressing the rapid increase in population in the Arab countries, which in
spite of the observed reduction over the last 10 years still remains high. Giving greater emphasis to the education of women, strengthening of religion and social programmes, which will raise the level of awareness of the importance of family planning, childcare and the uncontrolled population increase.
3. Dealing with the increase in the percentage of youth in the population as a
positive indicator of human resource, raising the challenge of providing the suitable environment for their education, training and employment.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 60
4. Curbing the increased immigration from rural to urban areas which should be
given priority in development planning such as planning for development in the areas of infrastructures, health and education services to meet the needs of the rural areas and thus discourage immigration.
5. Sound management of the use of natural resources, especially water resources
and energy that requires promoting of sustainable production and consumption, cooperation and integration between Arab countries towards the rational use of these resources and achieving Sustainable Development.
6. To set the foundations of the Arab common market and work towards the
integration of national economies, which would create a Pan Arab market and provide strong support for the negotiations with other economic groupings, including the WTO.
7. Transfer, integration and ownership of modern technologies suitable for the
economic, social and environmental conditions in member states. This also means the assessment of new technologies before importing them while ensuring that any negative impact is mitigated before adopting it in the region.
8. Maintenance and investing in the cultural and religions heritage that is unique
to the Arab region towards achieving SD.
9. Dealing wisely with globalization and the impacts that may constraint
achieving sustainable development in the Arab Region. The countries of the region are to adjust their economic and institutional arrangements to deal with globalization and to establish a regional economic block on the bases of the cultural and economic background to utilize the advantages that may be associated with globalization.
4.5.3 Lessons Learned
Based on that situation and experience, effective local development planning, designed
as a project, must be based on:
A strategy which enhances local resources and establishes linkages between economic, social, environmental, and cultural processes;
A pragmatic program based on the local realities and capacities;
An efficient institutional framework which is capable of implementing and enforcing the local development program.
Target Audience: Prominence will be given to mayors, local planning officers, NGO representatives and local participants who will comprise at least 50% of participants; central government representatives will be allocated 25% of places; and bilateral/International organizations, individual experts will be given the remaining 25%. The target number of participants shall be approximately 80 participants. a) Mayors/municipal and local planning officers/NGOs:
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 61
Mayors and local planning officers: Representatives from municipalities and local participants working with GTZ, Jordan (PAMD project, three pilot municipalities), Palestine, Yemen, Syria and Egypt; others: Lebanon (ARAL), Egypt (Alexandria), Iran; working with EU, Jordan and Lebanon. One or two mayors and/or planning officers from the ‘north' (Spain, Germany or France) Private Sector: Environmental Quality International (EQI), Egypt (The Siwa Sustainable Development Initiative) b) Ministries/ governmental agencies: Egypt: Ministry of Planning and Local Development Jordan: Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, Ministry of Municipal Affairs. Lebanon: Office of the Minister of State of Administrative Reform (OMSAR), Ministry of Interior and Municipalities Palestine: Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Local Government Yemen: Ministry of Planning and Development, Ministry of Local Administration c) Bilateral, International Organizations, Experts, Academics: - GTZ Jordan, Germany. - World Bank Institute (KNA-MENA + WBI Washington) - EU Jordan. - United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Jordan - United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Jordan / Iraq.
- United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UNHABITAT), Iraq Program
- UNDP Iraq
- International Labour Orgainization (ILO) Iraq
- Glocal Forum
- United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)
Although these experiences were not the primary motive for the comprehensive
strategic development plan, they succeeded in incorporating the environmental
dimension in all components, programmes, projects and activities. Social and
economic achievements are clearly visible in upgrading slum areas (Ex: in
Alexandria). Participants' councils have been formed for each slum community, and
they took part in managing the upgrading process. It is clear that, when residents fully
participate in the process which relates to their livelihoods, sustainability is possible.
Options for action:
Support and leadership from the Governorate were essential elements.
The cooperation of both the Governor and Secretary- General has been a key factor in achieving a highly significant improvement in the quality of life for citizens.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 62
The municipality recognized the importance of coordination, participant's contribution, and having a realistic approach towards implementation as integral part of the planning process.
Therefore, these experiences offer an excellent opportunity for citizens and urban
managers to incorporate environmental issues into an overall city development
framework. However, each city has its own unique needs, and it is necessary to
understand the local community culture in order to tailor the CDS process which is
concerned with environmental issues. It is also important to have a CDS team with
developed communication skills to ensure that participants, regardless of their
background or affiliations, actively participate in the process. Environmental issues are
clearly important to urban participants, who are likely to support the integration of
environmental issues within the CDS process in other cities in Arab countries.
4.6 Decision-making process in Egypt and Degrees of Local
The CFS-Project will focus its major efforts on the local level. Therefore it has to be
understood how the local administration and the local activities are linked with other
policy levels and areas and how the local level is embedded within the Egyptian system
of governance. An overview is given in this chapter.
Government in Egypt has a long history of being highly centralized. Nonetheless,
considerable attention has been placed on decentralization and devolution in recent
years, much of it prompted by the international community, but much of it is based on
indigenous, strongly held views.
As a result, over the past three decades, a variety of local government related laws have
been passed and amended in favor of empowering local authorities. Yet, the traditional
government structure remains firmly in place. Local governments are administrative
units of the national governments and its ministries, with little authority having been
delegated to the field in this de-concentrated structure. There are, however, some
promising, though slowly, evolving signs of change. A local political structure has been
established parallel to the administrative structure. Some fiscal devolution has taken
place, albeit, outside the traditional budget structure.
In much of Egypt's history, the hegemony of the state has constrained local
development and resulted in a highly centralized approach to development. This
checked local participation, local initiatives and prioritizing of local needs. A greater
allocation of resources was given to the decision making centers, the urban areas and
the capital, resulting in disparate and inequitable development across the various
regions of the country.
Problems of the Current System
The local administration system has experienced several consecutive reforms on both
the institutional and legislative levels. Nevertheless, there still exists a gap between
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 63
aspiration and reality, to revitalize developmental contributions by local administration units and to bring about comprehensive and sustainable development. In this context, the local administration system faces several problems, including the following:
There are multiple control and regulatory bodies over local
administration units from the executive authorities, the People's Assembly and Judiciary at the central or local levels. This multiplicity of control and regulatory bodies reduces the local administration units' autonomy in administering their affairs and using their resources in serving development. ⇒
Relationships between Popular and Executive Councils are typically
ambiguous. The role of EPCs is predominantly advisory and nonbinding to Executive Councils that have the right to reject the resolutions and recommendations of the former. The abrogation of the right of interpellation and vote of confidence mechanisms has curtailed the control role of EPCs over the work of Executive Councils. ⇒
Local administration performance is characterized by complicated and
lengthy procedures, conflicting functions, widespread manifestations of corruption and low efficiency of local administration employees. ⇒
Local citizen's political and developmental participation is remarkably
low. Levels of participation continue to regress and voluntary efforts exerted as a contribution to local development are, with few exceptions, decreasing. ⇒
Evidence that local units have no deciding voice in the preparation of the
investment and current budgets is manifested in the fact that both budgets are centrally prepared and decided upon. The local units only suggest proposals of local needs according to previously prepared priorities. The roles do not serve to build local capacity or to ensure that local priorities are met. The conception of a local plan is one-sided, as indicated by Article 118 of Law No. 43 for the year 1979 which states: "The local unit is to determine its needs according to well prepared priorities. It is to accumulate these needs and co-ordinate them in a draft local plan to be approved by the concerned local Peoples' Council, and transmit them to the governorate Peoples Council." ⇒
The current situation shows that local division is ineffective due to
disparities among local administration units and lack of socioeconomic integration within each unit.
The current division of the regions and governorates is not based on any
developmental rationale. An analysis of their potential suggests a regrouping of the governorates to form developmental regions. It also suggests modification of the boundaries and the number of governorates. Changes such as these would require a thorough study of alternatives and a serious review of previous proposals. ⇒
Local Units especially rural ones are overtaxed
Local Units fall short in administrative competence especially
accounting, auditing and decision- making.
Empowering Local Entities - Success Stories and Lessons Learnt
• A development-driven framework requires that local government entities would
be given the power to:
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 64
formulate strategic plans,
formulate projects and set their priorities,
take development initiatives,
be accountable for results and effective utilization of resources to local
communities and stakeholders.
• The outstanding successes achieved through the local initiatives taken in
Alexandria and Qena governorates, as well as other governorates such as Fayoum are indicative of the great potentials that local entities have if these are related to a developmental vision, guided by innovative leadership and channeled and directed to developmental ends. Empowerment should not stop at the governorates' level, but should penetrate down into the levels of city, district and village.
• Over the last seven years, the central government has increasingly allowed and
encouraged local initiatives to take place. Experiments in the governorates of
Alexandria, Qena, Damietta, Fayoum and others provide models of this growing
decentralized alternative. Although the leaderships of these governorates all
operate under the same legislative, administrative and financial frameworks of
all local administration units, they were able to work round constraints and
achieve a measure of distinction.
1. Alexandria: The governor of the Alexandria Governorate enlisted
businessmen as anchor partners for development goals.
2. Qena: The governor of the Qena Governorate relied on citizens and the
administrative machinery to tap resources for development.
3. Damietta: In Damietta, the governor supported an experiment that took a
Sectoral dimension with a focus on the furniture industry, this being the governorate's mother industry, and with NGOs as anchor partners.
4. Fayoum: In Fayoum, the governor negotiated with local citizens and
donors to overcome serious forces of dissent rooted in problems from the lake's pollution and the consequent loss of income in impoverished pockets of the fishing community.
• The four experiments relied on an applied value system associated with good
governance, including citizen participation, accountability, transparency and
integrity. Taking Qena as an example, the following is noted:
the resource mobilization strategy in Qena rested on Law 50 for the year
1981 giving governorates the right to impose services duties, subject to approval by the Cabinet. (Laws 52 for the year 1975 and 43 for the year 1979 also give governorates the right to levy taxes and duties, without having to obtain the Cabinet's approval). ⇒
Qena Governorate also mobilized other available resources to secure the
necessary funding to push forward development plans within the governorate, including rural and urban fund resources, rural contingency plan appropriations, governorate budget appropriations and financial appropriation for the governorate administrative machinery and services directorates.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 65
In the Qena experiment, discipline and commitment to law enforcement,
as well as services improvement resulted in the creation of an investment- supportive climate. The governor's role was to promote the principle of equitable leadership, encourage clear communications with the citizenry, use open meetings as means of follow-up, and encourage accountability, as well as responsiveness from his staff to local needs. The governor also relied on expert advice from research centers and universities. ⇒
In Qena governorate, a renovation program was launched seven years
ago. The governor mobilized local civic participation and geared it to generate additional resources. The governorate took a systematic approach to renewal by using surveys and needs assessment studies to identify local developmental priorities. The local community was persuaded to finance the supply of local public goods in areas such as education, health, employment and recreation. Additional public resources, based on results of the needs assessment, were further generated from the private sector and from the central government.
• Alexandria also had a successful experience that started in the 1990s, whereby
the city began a revitalizing trajectory that totally transformed it.1 The governor relied initially on the contribution from and support of the local business community, and the executive branch of the governorate established a highly successful working partnership with business to implement various renovation projects in the city. The projects' visible successes widened the scope of the partnership and increased the governorate's negotiating power vis à vis the central government. The governor was selected as the most effective visionary Arab manager by the Dubai Program for Performance Distinction.
• Similar processes and initiatives are taking place in other governorates such as
Fayoum, Assiut, Menoufia, and Sharkia, and are indicative of a significant degree of support from the national government.
• A number of lessons and conclusions can be drawn from the success stories,
both internally and on the international level: 1.
Decentralization, if taking place within a local developmental vision and
relying on local community participation, has a high pay off. Decentralization can be effectively introduced and implemented using a hybrid of bottom-up and top-down approaches, driven by local initiatives rather than countrywide norms. 2.
Leadership makes a substantial difference in the success of local
development and initiative. 3.
The embedded social capital in the local communities represents a key
ingredient for the success of local projects and initiatives. 4.
With some innovative approaches, local administrative entities establish
coalitions and partnerships with local stakeholders geared for responding to local needs and priorities.
1 Example in Alexandria: http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/MENAEXT/EGYPTEXTN/0,,contentMDK:20694919 pagePK:141137 piPK:141127 theSitePK:256307,00.html
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 66
Investing in knowledge and information about local needs, preferences
and priorities is essential for the proper direction of local programs and projects. 6.
It is important to resolve the dilemma of the relationship between ‘old'
local administration units and ‘new' urban communities in such a way as to maintain the level of development in new urban communities and realize the consistency between both ‘old' and ‘new' local communities. 7.
International experiences suggest that there is an increasing body of
applied knowledge and experience of new approaches to local development. This focuses on regional competitiveness, economic clusters and competences. They, in turn, apply non-traditional strategic analysis of region-wide activities and sectors to integrate SWOT analysis across activities and to identify the competitiveness of infrastructure across regions. This approach has been applied internationally to regions, metropolitan areas and centers and industrial districts. Cluster analysis of the furniture industry in Damietta, the textile and garment industry in Shubra El Khema and integrative linkage potentials among firms in the new industrial cities, are examples of useful potential applications. 8.
Currently, no local entity in Egypt runs its affairs on the basis of a
strategic plan. It might therefore seem useful to tie the devolved powers and central government support to a strategic plan using the applied body of knowledge at the levels of developmental regions and governorates. This implies that the regions and governorates should be empowered to plan and achieve developmental goals. This also requires that they would be held accountable for their results. The role of the central government, through the Ministry of Planning and the Ministry of Finance would be to align local planning with the national strategic plan and to provide the financial aid, support and incentives that harmonize and integrate the development of various regions and governorates. A great deal of this harmonization and integration among governorates would take place within each region through its region's development plan. 9.
An international experience indicates that economically successful
regions or local communities typically are those which have methodically set about building a platform for change and a planning framework. Developing such a program in turn entails the involvement of regional or community leaders to harness change, through a range of media, as well as community and organizational support groups. By educating the community and members of organizations about the benefits of managed change, the process minimizes defensive strategies that may come in response to change. Once a platform for change has been established, a steering committee comprising business community, government and other stakeholder interests, could be held responsible for developing an economic development strategy and plan.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 67
Sustainable Development Dimensions
All Financial Dimensions using local regional
Re-Using and Re-cycling
The vernacular tradition has
building materials for
The forth principle features
much to teach in the art of
construction work where
the priority given to:
relating the building to its
- Re-use of buildings.
- Infrastructure. - Materials.
All Financial Dimensions Prepare a development
Narrow streets and large
- Maximum lot coverage of
standard requiring 50
80-90% (or 10-20% open
percent of habitable roof
to the direction of airflow construction using wall
space) not including alleys.
areas, including parking
restrict the movement of
materials with high levels of - Building base not to
decks, to be shaded with
air, directing it up and
reflectivity and emissivity
exceed 8 stories.
trees, trellis vines,
over the built up urban
with smooth surfaces and
- Maximum lot coverage of
photovoltaic panels, or a
area known as the "urban the ability to emit heat to
50% above 8 stories base.
- Towers to be located at
diagonally opposite corners.
- The average street canyon proportion is not to exceed 1:2 – measured over the entire block (average of base and tower).
World's First 'Zero-
Abu Dhabi also plans to
The ‘Green City' will
This self-sustaining city is
The city would be walled on
Carbon' City will cost
invest 350 million US
house the Masdar
expected to provide up to
all sides, and house 50,000
five billion US dollar
dollars in a 100
Institute of Science and
people and 1,500 businesses
megawatt solar power
The estimated planning
It will have a diverse
The most original feature The Government offers
Dongtan, which will be built
for the city and phases in population, affordable
of Dongtan is its eco-
some project to save the life nearby, will have a
the future will cost
housing, at least 30,000
friendly design. It will
in Dongtan like: - None of
population of 50,000 to
around 2.5 billion US.
jobs on the spot, schools
have an ecological -
the buildings is more than 8 80,000 by 2010, rising to
and a hospital, to ensure
footprint of two hectares
500,000 by 2040.
it is not dependent on
per person, three times
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 68
less than Shanghai, London or Paris.
Vision: "We want Austin Austin Energy is funded
Green Building The City
Income Qualified Programs
More than 40,000 apartment
to be the most livable
through the inclusion of
of Austin started the first
Free programs are available units throughout Austin have
community in the
costs in customer rates.
Green Building Program
to income qualified
received rebates for energy
However, any increased
in the U.S. in 1991.
homeowners and to renters
investments through the
costs due to efficiency
who have been in a home,
measures or renewable
mobile home, or duplex for
totaling over five million
initiatives are being
offset by the decreased rates associated with not having to build new power plants.
Funding Initial funding
Most of the multi-family
Green Building because
1. Conserving, protecting,
Mayor Daley has suggested
was greatly helped by a
EE activity in Chicago
city buildings are
and restoring natural
has been aimed at either
expected to have a 100-
agreement with Coming
city-owned or managed
year life, the city has
2. Encouraging healthy
will be beneficial for the
for $100 million.
made a huge commitment environmental practices.
health of both our citizens
multifamily buildings -
to designing and building
and our economy.
or 1,447 units - have
superior new structures.
been rehabilitated since
resources, and encouraging
1988. Seven new multi-
family buildings - 570
behavior from citizens and
units – have been built so
businesses, not only ensures
as to maximize energy
the sustained health of the
City but it also makes plain common sense.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 69
4.7 Local Sustainable Development Activities – European Examples
In European and other countries the number of interesting cases for Sustainable
Development on the local level is impossible to oversee. Following is a selection of
interesting examples which are described in order to show the broad variety of success
4.7.1 Managing Urban Europe-25
The European project "Managing Urban Europe-25 (MUE-25)" worked with 25
European local and regional authorities to improve their environmental quality and
sustainability performance.21 The project ran from 2006 to 2008 and delivered a
framework for better implementation of already existing environmental management
systems like EMAS, ISO 14001 and ecoBUDGET. It provides a method for how cities
and regions can practically work with integrated management, an approach
recommended in many EU policies and strategies of today.
The main outcome of the project is a framework model of an integrated management
system, an umbrella that enables the implementation of integrated management systems
for the whole urban area (see www.localmanagement.eu). By applying the system, the
cities are in a better position to improve the implementation of environmental
legislation, urban management, municipal compliance with existing legislation and
voluntary agreements as well as environmental assessment and reporting and
communication with local stakeholders, and to integrate the different municipal policies
into one coherent strategy.
4.7.2 Renewable energies: "fifty-fifty-concept"
The fifty/fifty project32 was the first energy-saving project in Germany to be based on a
system of financial incentives. It enables the schools to get a share in the saved energy,
water and waste costs. 50% of the money saved is returned to the school, where it can
be reinvested into new energy-saving devices, equipments, materials and extra-
curricular activities. For instance, several schools bought solar panels with the money
The project started in the city of Hamburg. It was intended that the trial project would
last for three years in different types of schools, with 24 schools taking part initially. By
July 1995, 40 schools were involved and by autumn 1996, 60 more schools had joined
in. Since January 1997, fifty/fifty has become a standing project and has been extended
to other German cities, e.g. Berlin.
1 See http://www.mue25.net/ListFullArtGrp.aspx?m=2 and http://www.localmanagement.eu/pdf/MUE25_IntegratedManagement.pdf 2 See http://www.display-campaign.org/rubrique477.html
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 70
Since then, this concept has also been applied to municipal buildings other than schools.
Costs & Benefits
Costs & funding The initial costs incurred for this project by the City Council of
Hamburg were considerable but were balanced out by the great savings in energy and
water made by the schools. The cost of the project is now around 5% of the savings.
That's why the schools get a reduced reward: not 50% anymore, but only 45% of the
saved money. Benefit After 12 years the 470 schools have saved 21.8 Million EURO
(=10%), 100,000 tons of CO2, 355 GWh of heating energy, 49 GWh of electricity and
391,000 m³ of water.
Achievements The fifty/fifty project is now being carried out in all schools in Hamburg
(about 470 in total) Berlin (around 220 schools participating), Bremen and other
German cities and is also being established at schools in Japan, Greece and Spain. A
school's savings can amount to an average of 2,400 Euro per year being put back into
each school. Since 1997, the project has been extended to other environmental areas
such as waste disposal.
By saving energy, carbon dioxide emissions are reduced and the environment is
protected. The results in the trial period show that by the end of 2005, the fifty/fifty
schools of Hamburg had reduced their emissions of carbon dioxide by 10 – 11%.
Lessons Learnt The first year was the hardest. Everyone needed to be organised,
determined and committed to the project. Results were not immediately obvious but
once the project had been up and running properly, results soon began to show.
The credit goes largely to the commitment of the teaching staff who contributed to the
project's success and to the city administration, who ensured that this project became
well established and that the schools received their money continuously.
Also, the success of the scheme depended very much on the exchange of knowledge and
experiences in implementing the project and on the teamwork of the various user
groups. Many more schools throughout the whole of Germany enquired about
participating in the project.
4.7.3 Citizens' Solar Facility
There are two kinds of solar facilities:
- A thermal facility that heats water. This kind of facility has a relatively small collector
surface and can therefore be installed at low cost on a private roof.
- A photo-voltaic facility that produces electricity. This kind of facility requires a certain
amount of surface to be economically feasible, that is, they are often too large and expensive for a private individual.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 71
Then comes the idea of a "citizen's solar facility". Environmentally conscious citizens get together, invest in one or more shares of a community solar facility according to their financial capacities and start a community company (GbR). Their participation in a „citizens' solar facility" helps them afford their personal contribution to a sustainable energy system. So far, the Solar Group Berlin e.V. has overseen four citizens' solar facilities in Berlin and three in Brandenburg.
Example of a citizens' solar facility in Berlin:
size: 30 kWp
expected electricity production: ca. 25,500 to 30,000 kWh per year
expected return: ca. € 14,500 to € 17.200 per year
on-line inception date: 6 Dec 2004
managing group: „Bürger-Solar Berlin 3 GbR" (Community Company Citizens' Solar Berlin 3)
investment: € 80,000 from 46 share holders, minimum investment € 500, maximum allowable
investment € 10,000.
financing: € 80,000 in shares, € 60.000 loan from the Umweltbank.
The advantage of partial loan financing for the share holders is a higher return on investment because
revenues are distributed among fewer participants.
The advantage of partial loan financing for the Solar Group Berlin is the construction of more solar
facilities in a given time. The portion of electricity from renewable resources in Berlin can increase
location: roof of the High School for Technical Computer Science, Industrial Electronics and Energy
Management in Berlin Spandau.
land lord: Berlin Senate Administration for Youth, Education and Culture.
It's possible to make money running a photo-voltaic facility in Germany because of the
Renewable Energy Law – EEG. It became law on 1st of April 2000. Since then, it has
promoted the production of energy from renewable sources: hydro-electric power, wind
power, bio-mass, thermal power, solar power and geo-thermal power. The EEG requires
power companies to give preferential treatment to and to pay a fixed minimum price for
electricity from renewable energy sources. This price depends on the kind of energy, the
size of the facility and, for wind energy, on the location. The EEG fixes the period of
return at 20 years maximum and thus creates secure conditions for investment in the
energy sector. It has helped cause a boom, especially in wind energy.
An important and probably even necessary feature – a precondition – for having such
successful activities on the local and regional levels is a reasonable incentive structure,
in order to attract investors to change to renewable energy production. For that purpose
the former "red-green" German government established Feed-in Tariffs. This means
that electricity from renewable sources can and has to be bought by the big energy
corporations in Germany to a higher price than they pay for electricity from non-
renewable energy sources. This incentive structure has been a big success; in Germany
many new renewable energy sources have been built and put on the grit.
Its success is so positive, that many other countries followed that example, and that –
for instance, very recently the "International Solar Energy Society" called for Feed-in
Tariffs in all other countries (May 7, 2008): "During the Spring 2008 meeting of the
International Solar Energy Society (ISES), its board of directors voted to endorse feed-
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 72
in tariffs. The action was noted on ISES' website on May 5th, 2008. The International
Solar Energy Society concurs that feed-in tariffs are currently the most successful and
effective renewable energy policy tool for supporting the development of RE in any
country. For more information about feed-in tariffs and examples of other good policy
options for supporting renewable energy please see the ISES White Papers."
"This White Paper demonstrates that the renewable energy transition is not just a
fantasy, but rather a real vision, which can be implemented by industrial nations with
available technologies, in a reasonable time, and at reasonable costs. It is apparent that
leadership arising from people and their governments, combined with the adaptability of
utilities and societal institutions, will determine which countries succeed and which fail.
The renewable energy transition must start now, or it will be too late. Governments,
cities, companies, and people must cooperate in moving it beyond the first difficult
steps, knowing that great societal, environmental and personal rewards will come. Solar
energy, the source of all life on Earth, will be the underpinning of a sustainable, safe
and sane future energy policy." 1
4.7.4 Participatory Budget or Citizens Budget
The municipal level is the place where "problems as well as solutions come together".
A concrete and especially innovative application of the Cooperative State in Western
Europe lies in the Participatory Budget or Citizens Budget.2
Participatory budgeting is a process of democratic deliberation and decision-making,
in which ordinary city residents decide how to allocate part of a municipal or public
budget. Participatory budgeting is usually characterized by several basic design
features: identification of spending priorities by community members, election of
budget delegates to represent different communities, facilitation and technical assistance
by public employees, local and higher level assemblies to deliberate and vote on
spending priorities, and the implementation of local direct-impact community projects.
Various studies have suggested that participatory budgeting results in more equitable
public spending, higher quality of life, increased satisfaction of basic needs, greater
government transparency and accountability, increased levels of public participation
(especially by marginalized residents), and democratic and citizenship learning.
In recent years, a growing number of citizen participation devices concerning the
municipal budget have been experimented in Europe. Until today there has neither been
a transnational exchange of experiences nor a scientific analysis of the models which
would allow a process of mutual understanding.
1 See http://whitepaper.ises.org/ISES-WP-72.pdf. For more information on FIT see: http://www.wind-works.org/articles/feed_laws.html#Renewable%20Tariffs%20Overview
2 See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participatory_budgeting and http://www.buergerhaushalt-europa.de/zusammenfassung_en.htm
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 73
The Andalusian city of Sevilla, with more than 700,000 inhabitants, is the biggest city with a participatory budget in Europe. Although Sevilla is known for its cultural heritage, the city has important social problems. The process of participatory budget started in 2004. It focused on investments and programmes of three municipal areas: civic engagement, sport and urbanism. The procedure is very similar to the Brazilian city Porto Alegre: it is a decentralized process and is based on the participation of individuals. The procedure distinguishes between the three geographical levels of neighborhood, district and city. A "motor group" of active citizens organizes, in cooperation with technical staff of the participation offices, the meetings.
Figure 8: Locations of Citizens / Participatory Budgets in Europe
Following a bottom-up dynamic the process starts in March with meetings on the neighborhood level. Proposals are made and delegates for the district and city levels are elected. It is the responsibility of the district delegates to prioritize the proposals of the neighborhoods. The city delegates only discuss the proposals that concern the entire city, such as important investments like the construction of new swimming centers or soccer stadiums. On district as on city level, a hierarchy is set up by a complex system of criteria, which takes into account social justice values. The idea is to minimize the inequalities between the districts and between neighborhoods. Priority is given when the existing infrastructure is weak or when the project benefits a marginal social group. In the first year of participatory budget, 265 proposals, whose global amount was 12 millions Euros were integrated in the city budget. The methodology of the process itself was elaborated by a commission of delegates of every neighborhood and is published as a procedural motion. Another commission follows the realization of the projects. The
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 74
organization of the entire process is delegated to an external agency contracted by the
4.7.5 Local Agenda 21 Berlin
Many communities in Europe and in other continents are actively working on SD. One
example is the German capital city Berlin (3.6 Mio. inhabitants). It has a relatively
strong welfare system along with a high level of environmental standards and a rich
history of progressive policies. Beginning in the mid-nineties and supported by local
social and environmental initiatives, a number of LA 21 processes started and gained
momentum. The city districts Koepenick and Lichtenberg in former East Berlin for
example started in 1993, and by 1999 every District in Berlin had its own LA-21-
process going. Still, only a small percentage of Berlin's population is involved, and a
wide majority of citizens still does not know about Sustainable Development. A
Sustainable Development Agenda Forum for the Berlin region created by NGOs has
attained some symbolic and political power after ten years of work. But it is still
struggling with a notorious lack of resources, inefficiency, and little influence. Many
City Departments have LA 21 representatives which meet monthly in a working group.
The administration spends $250,000 p.a. for LA21 projects and activities. While the
struggle continues against short-term thinking and vested interests, hyper-consumerism
and certain neo-liberal policies, politicians and decision-makers are intensifying their
search for new development strategies as traditional solutions are no longer viable or
often found to be part of the problem. Sustainable alternatives are being found and
shared through coalitions at all levels.1
4.7.6 Indicators for Sustainable Cities
A major challenge for a smart and effective process for Sustainable Development is
measuring the status quo and measuring changes. For several years now, various
concepts are tested in reality in many countries.
Following is a list with websites about examples of practical use of different types of
indicator systems on the local level. These should be taken into consideration within the
project, but they have to be decided upon by all involved participants. It has to be
considered, whether for the special features of this project a specific set of indicators
should be developed.
Local Government Guide to the Internet -- Chapter 15: Community Indicator
1 State, national and supranational institutions can promote Sustainable Development in many legislative, financial, political and symbolic ways, as empirical evidence has shown (Lafferty/Meadowcroft 2000).
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 75
[list with examples]
Urban Sustainability Indicators
[Chapters B and C]
Urban sustainability and Cultural heritage Projects Library
[list with examples]
Center for Sustainable Cities (University of Kentucky)
The Sustainable Area Budget: Beyond Sustainability Indicators
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 76
5 Sustainable Cities – International Experiences
Humanity's total environment is a synthesis of man-made and natural systems. If we are
to consciously shape our future, we must learn to manage our entire environment -- to
reconcile the conflicts and contradictions between man-made and natural systems. It is a
false and tragic dichotomy to put economic prosperity against environmental resource
All of human's wealth, all of industrial society, would not be possible without abundant
natural resources. Industrial development in the United States occurred in a vast and
tremendously resource rich land. Every resource needed for agricultural and industrial
development was available in superabundance. Rich agricultural land, vast forests,
energy resources, clean water, and mineral resources - all were here in great abundance.
Today our natural wealth is being slowly wasted away. There is less and less prime
agricultural land, and much of that, which is being farmed, is undergoing some degree
of short or long-term damage. Domestic energy sources and mineral deposits are being
depleted, and the limits of water supply have already become visible.1
5.1 Main Issues Should be Considered in Sustainable Cities
5.1.1 Energy for the Sustainable City
Most of the world's energy is used in cities. Local transport, electricity supply, home
living, services provision and manufacturing crucially depend on fossil fuels. In the last
50 years, fossil fuel combustion has increased nearly five times (Girardet 2008). Most
of the world's energy is used in cities. Without routine use of coal, oil and gas, the
growth of Megacities would have never occurred, all the internal activities – local
transport, electricity supply, home living, services provision and manufacturing –
crucially depend on fossil fuels.2
In a world in which climate change is becoming an ever-growing concern and in which
oil and other fossil fuels are becoming scarce resources, we need to find other ways to
provide our cities with power. The European Union target is for 20% of energy
production to come from renewable energy sources by 2020 (European Energy
Council). As it has been up to now, renewable energy has been competing with fossil
fuel technologies that have reached their economies of scale and have benefited by
extensive government subsidies over many years.
The question is: How do we make cities run on renewable energy? We are exploring the
possibility for renewable energy in cities by presenting case material on cities that had
taken action towards this question.
2 Garbage, Cambodia, 29 sept 2007, By jparachute, Flickr
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 77
Egypt and the Great Energy Debate
Egypt is at energy cross-roads; it faces choices about what energy sources it will use in
the future. Conventional fuels are becoming increasingly expensive and there is
recognition that these fuel resources are finite. Some estimates indicate that indigenous
natural gas and oil reserves, on which Egypt's electricity generation currently relies, will
run out in 30 or 40 years, making the transition to alternative energy sources a pressing
need to avoid stagnant economic development. The same applies to nuclear energy: it is
also a non-renewable energy source and its amount is also limited to several decades. In
addition to its overall costs, which are very high, its risks are unlimited (deposits for the
radio-active and toxic nuclear waste, security for the power plants and logistics, costs
for the dismantling of the factories and power station etc.) – that is why several
advanced OECD-countries stopped planning and constructing nuclear power plants.
Renewable – Clean, Safe, Cheap and Available Energy
Renewable energy technologies are real, mature and economically viable today and are
ready to be deployed on a large scale. Together with energy efficiency and decentralized
energy systems, 50% of global energy can be supplied by renewable resources.1
Decades of technological progress have seen renewable energy technologies such as
wind turbines, solar photovoltaic panels, biomass power plants and solar thermal
collectors move steadily into the mainstream, making them competitive with
conventional power sources. In addition the global market for renewable energy is
growing dramatically; in 2006 its turnover was US$ 38 billion, 26% higher than the
previous year. As an investment proposition the renewable energy industry is
comparable with computers and mobile technology. This will only be enhanced by
continued increases in price of fossil fuels and as the saving of carbon dioxide is given
an increasing monetary value.2
In conjunction with energy efficiency programmes and decentralized energy supply
systems renewable energy technologies could deliver up to 50 percent of global primary
energy by 2050 as long as governments implement appropriate policies and action
Renewable resources are available in Egypt - In Egypt there is over 80 times more
energy readily available from renewable sources than is needed for current
The amount of electricity produced in Egypt per year (2004 figures) is 91.72 billion
KWh and the amount consumed is 84.49 billion KWh. However, the amount of solar
radiation available in Egypt is between 1900 KWh/sq meter/year in the north and 2600
KWh/sq meter/year in the south. If the average for the country is taken as 2300 KWh/sq
2 New and Renewable Energy Authority Ynet, 28/10.06, 11Mubarak to ask China for help with nuclear
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 78
meter/year then there is at least 230 billion KWh of solar radiation – over two and a half
times the amount of electricity produced for the whole country.1
Figure 9: Desertec – Clean Power From Deserts
(Source: Desertec Foundation (2007): Clean Power from Deserts. White Book. 4th Edition,
But it is not only solar technologies that can provide for the needs of Egypt. In
combination, the total economically available renewable energy resources in Egypt is
7,573 billion KWh per year. This is over 80 times the amount of electricity produced
per year. This is actually half the technically available renewable resources, thus as
renewable energy collection technologies improve, twice this amount will become
available i.e. 15,086 billion KWh.2
Renewable resources are Cheaper - Renewable technologies are cheaper to build,
with lower operation and maintenance costs, than nuclear power.
The construction cost of the new CSP ((Cheaper Sustainable power)) project
being built by the Egypt government is estimated at US$140 million for 140 MW – roughly US$ 1.5 million per MW.
2 Energy [R]evolution: A sustainable World Energy Outlook. European Renewable Energy Council/Greenpeace report 2007
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 79
In comparison, the cost of building the proposed nuclear power plant is estimated at
US$ 1.5 billion for 1000 MW – roughly US$ 1.5 million per MW; in other words, it is
one and a half times the costs of concentrated solar thermal power.
It is also important to note that US estimates for the development of a nuclear power
plant are much higher, averaging US$ 4.0 billion for a 1200 MW which is over US$ 3
million per MW which means that the construction costs for nuclear power could be as
much as three times the cost of CSP.1
These are just the building costs; they do not include the costs of decommissioning,
costs of dealing with nuclear waste, nor costs of the fuel – problems which do not exist
with renewable energy.
Current Capacity - The Government of Egypt has a target of only 3% of energy
from renewable resources by 2010, greatly under-utilizing their potential.
Total installed hydro capacity is currently 2794 MW. This includes 270 MW each from
Aswan Dam and 2100 MW from the High Dam; 90 MW from the Isna Dam; and 64
MW from the Naga Hamady Dam.2
Total installed Wind Power is 315 MW - 95 MW from Hurghada and 220 MW from Al-
Zafarana facilities. The Egyptian government has a renewable energy target of 3 percent
by 2010; yet the available resources could provide a much larger contribution if the
right direction, encouragement and framework were provided.3
Waste in the Sustainable City
From 1950 to 2000, the world's economic activities increased fifteen folds. The growth
of consumer societies all over the world has seen a large increase in solid waste
produced per head, and the waste mix has also become even more complex. For more
than 50 years, we have taken for granted that our waste could be deposited in holes in
the ground or incinerated. In the urbanized world, cities use the bulk of the world's
resources and discharge most waste.
Today, cities are running out of landfills. Even when they incinerate, they cannot keep
up with the piles of waste created everyday. Conventional linear waste disposal is not a
sustainable option. New circular systems have emerged all around the world, in which
waste is seen as a resource to be reused. Many new jobs have been created in this
recycling industry. Would it be possible to imagine a world were the concept of waste is
1 Energy Minister saying by 2040: Al Ahram Weekly, 12-18 October 2006, ‘Experts on site'
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2006/816/eg3.htm; 40 years: Egypt Today, November 2006, ‘Power to the People', http://www.egypttoday.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=7036 30years: Summit Communications (seems linked to NY Times) ‘NEW DISCOVERIES ARE BEING MADE IN oil and gas'http://www.summitreports.com/egypt/oil.htmrerefe
2 Congressional Research Services Nuclear Power: Prospects for new commercial reactors 2001
3 Concentrating Solar Power for the Mediterranean Region. German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute of
Technical Thermodynamics Section Systems Analysis and Technology Assessment 2005 http://www.dlr.de/tt/med-csp
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 80
Will we see a future were we demand products which are either of such a good quality
of material that they can be truly recycled (not loosing quality under the recycling
process like paper does) or biological nutrient that will easily reenter the water or soil
without depositing synthetic materials or toxins? As the world appears today, there is
still some way to go before we have created sustainable waste systems.
The question is: How do we create cities with a more circular view on waste? We are
exploring the possibility for sustainable waste management in cities by presenting case
material on cities that had taken action towards this question.11
Description of current situation of solid waste management in Egypt.
Municipal solid waste (MSW) management
((this is just a list - it needs further introduction and explanation for the reader))
- National strategy of Integrated MSW management (2000).
- Privatization of SWM program (2001).
- No national program for SWM minimization or prevention.
- Two main laws concerning SWM in Egypt.
- 30 000-40 000 tons per day (10- 15 million tons per year).
- Efficiency percentage of MSW collection is 15 % -65%.
- Limited public participation and awareness, Lack of skilled staff.
- Collection of MSW (Municipalities and "Zabbaleen", informal garbage collectors) in
- Cost recovery does not exist.
- Fees of MSW service (2% of rental value of households and commercial activities)
- Mixed MSW, no national program for source separation.
- Inadequate collection scheme of MSW, limited No. of transfer stations.
- Composting (50 facilities in 2003, receive around 1000-1500 tons of mixed MSW per
- Recycling activities by "Zabbaleen" system (plastics, metals, glass), no national
strategy for recycling.
- Disposal of MSW in uncontrolled dumpsites, no regulation for landfilling sites, just
guidelines by EEAA.
C&D waste management in Egypt
- Lack of policy or strategy for C&D waste management
- Lack of accurate estimation of quantities or generation rate
- Illegal dumping is the most common practice.
So it must be taken into consideration for Egypt that National Government should
improve communications and regional MSW strategies, and undergo national training
program for MSW staff and Regional governorates.
- Regional strategy of MSW.
- Multi-cities cooperation.
1 Garbage, Cambodia, 29 sept 2007, By jparachute, Flickr
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 81
Sustainable Development and Water Resources in Egypt
For Living Organisms
Water is the source of life on Earth for all living organisms, as God Almighty says in
the Holy Quran "And, We made from water every living thing." (The Prophets: 30).
Water is the second most important of all natural resources on Earth next to air as its
quantities are fixed, whether it is fresh water, salty water, surface water or underground
It covers 80% of the Earth's surface. Oceans and seas contain 317 million cubic miles,
glacier ice 7.3 million cubic miles, salt lakes 25,000 cubic miles, rivers 411,000 cubic
miles, fresh water lakes 30,000 cubic miles, under groundwater one million cubic miles,
non-saturated soil 16,000 cubic miles, and water vapor 3,100 cubic miles.
Water constitutes 75% of the human body weight and 80% of the total composition of
most vegetables. At the same time, water causes an estimated 80% of diseases in the
world. This is either due to water contamination or to water shortage.1
Thus, water needs and the development process are inseparable, as human civilization
and progress are measured by the quantity of water used per day.
Water Resources in Egypt
Water is the fundamental element for sustainable and integrated development in Egypt.
Horizontal expansion in agriculture is connected to the country's ability to provide the
water required for that expansion. Moreover, the economics of water use and its future
on the long run require searching for alternatives and determining the water resources
available at present and additional resources that we can obtain in the future. 2
Water resources available for use and quantities obtained at present and in the future in
Egypt are Nile water, ground water, rain water and drainage water.
River Nile is the longest river on Earth, flowing for nearly 6,700 kilometers from its
source to its mouth. The river water yield is about 1,630 billion cubic meters (BCM) per
annum, of which only 10 percent are exploited. The length of River Nile in Egypt is
1,530 km and the area of the River Nile Basin is 1.3 million square meters. The Basin
spreads over ten countries: Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo,
Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and Egypt. The volume of water
resources in Egypt amounts to approximately 69.7 (BCM) per annum, used for all
purposes. River Nile constitutes more than 95% of Egypt's total water resources. Egypt's
share of Nile water is 55.5 (BCM). Due to the establishment of the High Dam in 1964
and the use of its large capacity in continuous water storage, Egypt secured obtaining a
fixed annual water yield.
2 Berlin children playing in an open space in the city, 4 Dec. 2007, By Henning Thomsen
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 82
Reservoir and Barrage Projects on the River Nile
There are 11 main barrages on the River Nile and its two branches, 17 mouth barrages,
that convey water directly from the Nile, and 37 stone barrages built across Rayahs and
main canals. The length of waterways that supply Egypt with water is about 35,000 km.
Strategy to Develop Irrigation Programme
Egypt set out an important strategy to develop irrigation programmes as follows:
1- Water resources development Programme.
2-Preservation of water resources and River Nile protection Programme.
3- Replacement and renovation of lifting stations Programme.
4- Preservation of the integrity and efficiency of the High Dam and the Aswan
5- Agricultural land drainage Programme.
6- Studies and research Programme.
7- Protection of Egyptian coastal areas Programme.
8- Updating cadastral maps Programme.
Preservation of River Nile and Water Resources
Egypt has achieved the following:
- Projects of water quality improvement in Lake Manzala as well as the Damietta and
Rosetta branches of the Nile.
- Installation of five sanitary disposal stations for Nile cruises along the river's course in
Cairo, Minya, Assiut and Sohag.
- Conducting a study on empirical contamination abatement project in Bahr el Baqar
drain in Manzala Lagoon .
- The establishment of a center for combating marine pollution in Sharm el-Sheikh at a
cost of LE 4 million.
- Conducting a comprehensive survey on the Egyptian coasts to locate 84 sites prone to
the dangers of pollution, including 45 sites on the Mediterranean, 29 sites on the Red
Sea and Suez and Aqaba Gulfs to implement a periodical programme for monitoring the
quality of coastal water so as to follow up on the source of pollution and provide
monitoring institutes with the required machines and equipments.
Underground water is an important source of fresh water in Egypt; its importance is
augmented by the fact that it is the sole and essential source of water in the Egyptian
desert that constitutes 95% of Egypt's total area. Underground water can be directly
used without treatment as it is not exposed to pollution, in addition to its constant
temperature over the year. Thus, it is a safe source for potable water.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 83
Figure 10: Water Flow Balance of Egypt (Input - Output)
(Source: National Water Resource Plan, Egypt, Cairo 2005)
(+ surplus release)
Shallow Nile Aquifer
Within the framework of developing water resources plan that Egypt is carrying out
(ending in 2017), the quantity of underground water aimed to be saved is estimated at
5.9 (BCM), of which 2.7 (BCM) is underground water and 3.2 (BCM) is deep
Rain falls on Egypt rarely; its rate ranges between 20 mm and 150 mm annually on the
northwest coast of Egypt and decreases gradually in other parts. Southern Egypt
receives only a trace of rain each year. Thus, rain remains a limited and unreliable
source in agricultural development, but can continue to play a role in pasture cultivation
in desert areas and irrigation in the North Coast.
Since the 1950's, Egypt has started to reuse the agricultural drainage water which is
treated and mixed with Nile water to be used in irrigation. Around 4.7 (BCM) of
agricultural drainage water is used annually, and is targeted to be about 10 (BCM) over
the next 10 years.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 84
Stations were established on some of the Nile Delta drains to lift and push water into
canals for land irrigation. The quantity of drainage water used is estimated at 9 (BCM).
Green and the Sustainable City
The world is in the midst of a disturbing period of population growth, growing
consumption and environmental degradation. From global warming to biodiversity loss
to patterns of sprawling land consumption, the environmental trends are dire.
Cities will by necessity play an increasingly important role in addressing these issues. In
contrast to the traditional view of opposition of things, urban and natural things, cities
are fundamentally embedded in a natural environment. Urban green is not only essential
to the physical and mental wellbeing of urban residents. Urban green – parks, trees,
green infrastructure etc. – cleanse the air, provide shade, cool the city, hold water and
support biodiversity. Urban green is the lungs of a city that provide a healthy
Egypt Plan to Green Sahara Desert Stirs Controversy
While climate change and land over-use help many deserts across the world advance,
Egypt is slowly greening the sand that covers almost all of its territory as it seeks to
create more space for its growing population. "All of this used to be just sand,". "Now
we can grow anything."
With only five percent of the country habitable, almost all of Egypt's 79 million people
live along the Nile River and the Mediterranean Sea. Already crowded living conditions
-- Cairo is one of the most densely populated cities on earth -- will likely get worse as
Egypt's population is expected to double by 2050.
So the government is keen to encourage people to move to the desert by pressing ahead
with an estimated $70 billion plan to reclaim 3.4 million acres of desert over the next 10
years. Among the incentives is (selling/giving) cheap desert lands to college graduates.
But to make these areas habitable and capable of cultivation, the government will need
to tap into scarce water resources of the Nile River as rainfall is almost non-existent in
The plan has raised controversy among some conservationists who say that turning the
desert green is neither practical nor sustainable and might ultimately backfire.
Anders Jagerskog, director of the Stockholm International Water Institute in Sweden,
questions the wisdom of using precious water resources to grow in desert areas unsuited
to cultivation where water will evaporate quickly under the scorching sun.
"A desert is not the best place to grow food," he said. "From a political perspective, it
makes sense in terms of giving more people jobs even though it is not very rational
from a water perspective," he added.
The scope of the reclamations could also add to regional tension over Nile water sharing
arrangements as in order to green its desert Egypt might need to take more than its share
of Nile water determined by international treaties.
Egypt's project to reclaim deserts in the south, called "Toshka", would expand Egypt's
farmland by about 40 percent by 2017, using about five billion cubic meters of water a
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 85
This worries Egypt's southern neighbors who are already unhappy about Nile water
sharing arrangements. Under the 1959 treaty between Egypt and Sudan, Egypt won
rights to 55.5 billion cubic meters per year, more than half of the Nile's total flow.
Ethiopia, where the Blue Nile begins, receives no formal allocation of Nile water, but it
is heavily dependent on the water for its own agricultural development in this often
famine ravaged country.
"The Toshka project will complicate the challenge of achieving a more equitable
allocation of the water of Nile River with Ethiopia and the other Nile basin countries ,"
said Sandra Postal, director of the US-based Global Water Policy Project.
"Egypt may be setting the stage for a scenario that's ultimately detrimental to itself." But
other experts suggest that in the delicate arena of water politics, it may be more of an
imperative for Egypt's government to mollify its own population rather than heed 1
Transport in the Sustainable City
"Cities are shaped by transport and hence sustainable transport – good transit, walk
ability and cycling facilities – should help shape sustainable cities" (Peter Newman).2
During the past fifty years, there has been an exponential growth in transport of both
people and goods. The number of motorized road vehicles has surpassed more than 800
million vehicles world-wide and are, in many places, still growing at higher rates than
both human population and GDP. This growth has several unintended consequences –
and is now increasingly eroding some of the very benefits transport has brought about.
It is evident that current trends pose severe challenges for societies aiming to move
towards sustainable city development.
The Egyptian transport sector
The demand for energy in the transport sector has been growing in tandem with the
population, economic growth and the increasing pace of urbanization. The Transport
Sector Development Plan, which covers the years to 2017, includes measures to
promote public passenger transport and encourage a modal shift of cargo transport from
road to railways and inland waterways; it envisages government investments of
hundreds of millions of dollars. In addition, the government has for many years pursued
a policy of gradual liberalization and privatization of the transport sector (EEC, 2005).3
Road traffic is the dominant mode of internal transport in both passenger and freight
operations. In 2003–2004, the number of people transported by road had reached nearly
115.6 billion passenger/km, while freight transport amounted to nearly 43.1 billion
ton/km (State Information Service, 2006).
For railways, the policy goal is a revitalization of the sector and the development of
better service quality by Egyptian National Railways (ENR), which is state-owned and
highly subsidized. While railways have a relatively high share of the domestic
passenger market, its share of the freight market is very low (only 8 percent of the total
tones/km capacity). The railways system delivered 76.1 billion passenger/km in 2003–
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 86
2004; while freight was only 4.7 billion ton/km. ENR is presently undertaking significant investments in order to modernize and upgrade the railways and extend its network (Table 4). Egypt's inland waterways, the River Nile and canals, are severely underutilized for transport. Primarily designed as an irrigation system in 1995, the inland waterways carried approximately 3.6 million tons of freight, which represented only 3.3 percent of the total tones/km transported (EEC, 2005).1 The energy consumption of freight transportation is another area with rapid growth. What characterizes Egypt's freight system is that it is dominated by road transport, with a 90 percent share of all freight, while the opportunities for more energy-efficient railways and inland waterway transport are clearly underutilized; the transport demand is concentrated on a few transport corridors starting from or ending in Cairo; and the transport patterns are influenced by the imbalance between exports and imports (the value of imports being about twice the value of exports in 2002).
Table 4: Egypt's main transport indicators
Railway length (km)
(Source: State Information Service 2006)
Currently mobile emissions are one of the major sources of air pollution in the country,
producing about 25 percent of Egypt's energy-related CO2 emissions. This is
particularly acute in Cairo, a megacity of 17 million people and the country's major urban, industrial and financial agglomeration. Demand for mobility in Cairo has greatly outpaced the capacity of the public transportation system. The gap has been primarily filled with privately owned and operated shared taxis (so-called informal transport) and the use of private cars. As the Cairo Regional Area Transportation Study (UNDP, 2005)
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 87
pointed out, congestion has become a major problem and the air quality has deteriorated to an alarming level. The number of vehicles registered in Egypt increased from nearly 3.6 million vehicles in 1992 to almost 6.6 million vehicles in 2005 (Egypt Information Portal, 2007). About 50 percent of the total vehicles were registered in the Cairo metropolitan area. Significant features of the Cairo vehicle fleet include: •
The average vehicle age is relatively old.
Passenger cars are expected to constitute the fastest-growing category over the
next few years due to economic growth, gradual decreases of tariff duties on imported cars and increased numbers of locally assembled ones.
Almost all trucks and buses use diesel fuel and have old-generation diesel
There are essentially no diesel-powered passenger cars because these have been
prohibited by law.
The number of public buses has not been expanding at a significant rate due to capital constraints and the growth of the underground metro system. Public transport in Cairo consists of two generic groupings: formal and informal services. Formal urban public transport services are provided by the state-owned Cairo Transient Authority (CTA), the Greater Cairo Bus Company (GCBC) and the Cairo Metro Organization, which runs the urban heavy-rail service. The informal sector predominately consists of route-specific shared taxis, operated by the private sector using microbuses with typical capacities of 11–14 seats.1 In 2001, public transport services carried a total of 12.44 million trips every weekday, or 68 percent of the total (public and private) motorized trips generated within the metropolitan region. Shared taxis (microbuses) carried some 6.5 million passengers daily, or roughly half of daily motorized public transport trips. CTA buses accounted for a further 3.5 million daily trips, and the metro for slightly more than 2 million trips per day – most of these riders had previously traveled by buses, microbuses and taxis. Other modes of transport contribute about 0.4 million trips per day. Formal buses services are constrained by government control on the route structures they offer and the fares they may charge. Concurrently, the ageing fleet (the average bus age is now in excess of 12 years) must serve ever-expanding urban centers. As a result, service frequencies are declining throughout the system. Although the network has increased from 6,100 to 10,100 kilometers over the past decade, fleet size has only increased from 3,700 to 4,400 buses (Three-quarters of which are considered operational). Thus, crowding on buses sometimes reaches intolerable levels (Thompson and Nagayama, 2005).2 Road safety and the high number of car accidents, traffic fatalities and injuries in Egypt (see table below) should be a sign that public transportation needs a big push. The
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 88
Western style of individual motor-based mobility and transport is not sustainable at all.
The overall costs in production, resource consumption and waste, infrastructure,
insurance, maintenance, health, environment (air pollution, noise, traffic density etc.)
are much too high for a modern society which cares about its citizens, future
generations and their well-being. Many examples in others countries and cities prove
that smart projects can improve the situation and trends.
Table 5: Traffic and Road Safety in Egypt
(Source: WHO 2009 "Global Status Report on Road Safety", p.106)
Air quality in Cairo has been partially monitored since the early 1970s. In 2004, measurements revealed that the average annual concentration of SO2 exceeded the
limits set by Egyptian air quality standards and the average annual concentration of NO2
exceeded the WHO limits in the most congested areas of the city. Due to traffic congestion, Cairo city centre had the nation's highest concentrations of CO2 (6.8 mg/m3)
(Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, 2004).1
Food and the Sustainable City
Today modern western populations expect to be able to eat large varieties of different
foods from all over the world all year round. In the U.S., the average grocery store
product travels nearly 1,500 miles between the farm where it is grown and the
A tremendous amount of fossil fuel is used to transport food for long distances. Aside
from the environmental harm that can result from processing, packaging and
transporting long-distance foods, the industrial farms on which these foods are often
produced are major sources of air and water pollution.
Urban and pier-urban farming was the norm before long-distance food transport became
1 New York bus, 2004, By Malene Freudendal-Pedersen
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 89
Responsibility of Consumers and Production
The most dangerous aspect of food safety is the unaware consumer, given that
consumer awareness is important to the advancement of the domestic trade sector and
will play a major role in the development of the Food Safety Agency.
Similarly, we are all consumers, in this capacity, we look to the government to ensure
that food is up to safety standards.
However, the fact is that the biggest culprit in terms of unsafe food practices is private
families in their own kitchens. Food can be produced safely from farm to market, but all
the efforts that went into that will be to no avail if the proper precautions are not taken
at home. A Food Safety Agency is needed to raise public awareness on food safety.
Infrastructure and Sustainable Cities
Infrastructure creates and defines cities and cities create and define infrastructure. When
talking about sustainable cities, we have to deal with infrastructure simultaneously.
These things can not be separated. Traffic determines access to city spaces and how
they can be used. This applies to all types of infrastructure projects. Most obvious are
probably roads, which are filled by a growing number of cars on a daily basis inhibiting
the movement of vulnerable traffic users. It also applies to railway projects. The
Copenhagen metro line to the airport is a good example. Here residents of the area are
divided in two groups - those with direct access to the beach and those without.
Traffic is a prerequisite for the life we know. It creates opportunities and creates
conceptions of opportunities. During the last 50 years, many cities are designed with the
needs of cars as a prerequisite. This has created a wide range of unintended
consequences in relation to city life.
The big task for future cities is to create a balance between the environmental, social
and economical aspects before addressing being sustainable. Regarding the
environmental aspect, it is prevalent that the large and growing CO2 emissions from
transport have become an issue we can no longer ignore. Regarding the social aspect, it
is prevalent that the life we want in the city – the spaces we want to live in, move and
dwell in – is currently defined by transport flows. Finally, regarding economics there
lays a major challenge in decoupling the direct link that increased mobility equals
increased growth, which has been the underlying rationale for many infrastructure
The direct correlation between growth and mobility is still prevalent in countries where
infrastructure is not highly developed. This is, however, not the case for Denmark. If
sustainability is to be a reality, if climate change is to be taken seriously, the economy
must be sustainable and thus recognize the unintended consequences and externalities
(costs from air pollution, congestion, noise, accidents, lifestyle diseases, etc.) which
economic calculations today are happily independent of. Changing our taken for granted
knowledge about the world is a huge challenge to us all. Such a challenge Odense
Municipality in Denmark has faced in their traffic master plan when they talked about
'more mobility - Less traffic'.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 90
Infrastructure in Egypt
Egypt possesses a vibrant construction industry, which is forecast to log an average
growth of 6.87% during 2007-2011. The industry value stood at L.E. 21.41bn
(US$4.48bn) in 2006. The government is likely to continue with its Programme of
economic reform with major privatization and investment activity expected in the
nation's infrastructure industry during 2007-2008 period. Recently-launched state
initiatives for the infrastructure sector primarily revolve around ports, airports, railways,
and oil and gas-related sectors, among others.
Major ongoing projects in the country include the development of the Cairo Festival
City at New Cairo City, a fertilizer complex in Damietta and a proposed industrial
chemicals plant at El-Fayom. Moreover, the government recently announced plans to
implement eight new oil and natural gas projects in five governorates. The government
is also concentrating on developing its tourism infrastructure, given the fact that 8.3mn
tourists visited the country in 2006 – up 5.1% year-on-year (y-o-y). Some of the major
companies that have a presence in the Egyptian infrastructure industry are Egypt-based,
such as: Arab Contractors, Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) and Hassan Alam
However, certain perennial risks plague the Egyptian construction industry. The country
has in the past witnessed terrorist attacks such as the one in Red Sea resort of Sharm el-
Sheikh in July 2005. An undercurrent of terrorism adversely impacts the tourism
industry, thereby affecting revenues. These can also render Egypt a less attractive
destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, thereby affecting the overall
industry growth and gross domestic product (GDP). The construction industry has also
been dampened by high material and construction costs.
5.2 Experiences from other Countries
In this part of the study we try to discus the experiences of other Countries to construct
Sustainable Cities and learn lessons from them.
5.2.1 Environment -UAE: Coming Up – MASDAR World's First 'Zero-Carbon'
Called the Masdar (meaning ‘source' in Arabic) Initiative, this ambitious plan which
gives some ideas for planning of Desert Areas for a 'Green City' is being driven by the
Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company. "As the first major hydrocarbon-producing nation
to take such a step, Abu Dhabi has established its leadership position by launching
Masdar, a global cooperative platform for open engagement in the search for solutions
to some of mankind's most pressing issues - energy security, environment and truly
sustainable human development".
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 91
The city, to be built on an area of six square kilometers on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi,
has been designed by British architect Lord Foster (Foster and Partners). The city would
be walled on all sides, and house 50,000 people and 1,500 businesses. The electricity
for the entire city would be generated by solar energy harnessed by photovoltaic panels.
To start with, a large solar power station would be built so as to meet the energy
requirements during the construction of the city, while buildings would be cooled by
Financial Dimension (Cost, Sources).
World's First 'Zero-Carbon' City will cost five billion US dollar plan, a sum which
might finance credit to a sci-fi film set, is envisaged for Abu Dhabi, the capital of the
United Arab Emirates (UAE). When completed, in 2025, it will be the nearest thing yet
to a zero-carbon, zero-waste city.1
Urban & Planning Dimension.
Using the traditional planning principles of a walled city, together with existing
technologies to achieve sustainable development, this six sq km expanse will house an
energy, science and technology community.
As for site planning, the city would be oriented north-east to south-west to ensure
optimum balance of sunlight and shade. There would be no cars zooming around the
city, with residents getting to and from via trains and automated transport pods. Three
levels for movement for the city would include a light railway between Masdar to Abu
Dhabi, a second level for pedestrians, and a third for "personalized rapid transport
pods." The public transportation has been so planned that none of the city's inhabitants
will be more than 200 meters from the nearest public transportation link. Management
Systems will encourage reuse and minimal resources, with 99% of the waste generated
in the city getting reused, or composted, and all waste water would be reused as well,
with solar energy desalination systems.
The ‘Green City' will house the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, a graduate
science and research institute that will be established in cooperation with the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology; world-class laboratories; commercial space for
related-sector companies; light manufacturing facilities and a selected pool of
international tenants who will invest, develop, and commercialize advanced energy
‘‘They are creating a synergetic environment; it is a true alternative energy cluster with
researchers, students, scientists, business investment professionals, and policy makers in
the same community. It will combine the talent, expertise and resources to enable the
required technological breakthroughs,'' Jabber explained to IPS.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 92
This self-sustaining city is expected to provide up to 1,500 companies with an attractive
incentives package, including a one-stop shop programmed for government services,
transparent laws, 100 percent foreign ownership, tax-free environment, intellectual
property protection and proximity to nearby manufactures, suppliers and markets. The
environment which will be in Masdar, will lead to creative zones and lots of cultural
parks for people in Masdar.1
According to a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the
greenhouse effect on climate change in the Middle East region will increase the region's
temperatures by 1-2 degrees Celsius during the next 25 years. The ‘Green City' plan is a
part of Abu Dhabi's decision in April 2006 to embrace renewable and sustainable
In another initiative in March, the UAE signaled the commencement of a major national
carbon dioxide emission reduction programme by announcing an initiative aimed at
delivering a national carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) network.
It is estimated that the CCS network could reduce UAE's carbon dioxide emissions by
almost 40 percent, increase oil production by up to 10 percent and liberate large
quantities of natural gas. This could be achieved through the separation of gas from
industrial and energy related sources and its transportation to oil reservoirs for enhanced
Abu Dhabi also plans to invest 350 million US dollars in a 100 megawatt solar power
plant and hopes to tap into a growing global trend among environment-conscious
investors. The plant will be expandable to 500 Mw with a target to generate enough
power for 500,000 households.
To encourage people to be a part of this setup amid harsh weather conditions that
witness temperatures soaring up to nearly 50 degrees Celsius during July and August, a
pedestrian-friendly environment has been planned with narrow streets and shaded
walkways. The maximum distance to the nearest transport link and facilities is likely to
be no more than 200 m and will be complemented by a rapid personal transport system.3
5.2.2 Dongtan Eco-city (Shanghai )— The World's First Sustainable City
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 93
Dongtan, located on the island of Chongming, near Shanghai, China, is designed not
only to be environmentally sustainable, but also socially, economically and culturally
sustainable as planning target from start. It is located in the middle of the marshes at the
eastern tip of Chongming, China's third-largest island, at the mouth of the Yangtse
The first phase of the construction process of Dongtan Eco City, which is developed by
the Shanghai Industrial investment Corp, will be completed in 2040. Dongtan Eco City,
roughly the size of Manhattan, will be the world's first fully sustainable Cosmo polis
when completed in 2040.
Up to 80% of solid waste will be recycled. Organic waste is burned in an incinerator,
catering for part of the town's electricity requirements. Dongtan stands on the shores of
a canal, in the middle of a designated nature reserve with outstanding biodiversity, and
is one of the main attractions for visitors to the international Expo in Shanghai. The -
journey to the metropolis, via a huge bridge and tunnel complex, takes only 45
Returning to the present day, the Dongtan project is an attempt to solve an increasingly
pressing problem. China has so far given priority to the quantity of construction, but
now it must focus on quality. This means a radical change in town planning strategy and
transformation to sustainable development, even though the country has to deal with
one of the most spectacular migratory movements in the history of mankind. Between
now and 2020 China needs to build 400 new towns - nearly 30 towns a year - to
accommodate more than 300 million people from the countryside. Hence the decision to
build a model city on Chongming Island emerged.3
At present, about half a million people live in the district of Chongming, traveling to the
outskirts of Shanghai on speedboats and ferries. They occupy two small towns and a
myriad of little villages, as yet spared by the building frenzy of neighboring districts. A
motorway, which is often deserted, already crosses the island. Dongtan, which will be
built nearby, will have a population of 50,000 to 80,000 by 2010, rising to 500,000 by
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 94
"In 20 years," says Ma Chengliang, the manager of SIIC Dongtan, "the Chinese
economy has grown so fast that we are already suffering energy shortages. To maintain
our current growth rate, we must opt for sustainable development. In Dongtan we want
to demonstrate what can be done in terms of renewable energy, clean transport systems
and sustainable lifestyles. The model was designed so that it could be extended to the
rest of Chongming, serving as a prototype for the whole country."
Estimated planning for the city and phases in the future will cost around $ US 2.5
Standing on the site of the new town, Alejandro Gutierrez, Arup's senior architect,
explains: "Dongtan will be compact, inspired by traditional Chinese towns in which
water plays an important part. Social factors are essential. It will have a diverse
population, affordable housing, at least 30,000 jobs on the spot, schools and a hospital,
to ensure it is not dependent on Shanghai."1
The most original feature of Dongtan is its eco-friendly design. It will have an
ecological footprint (the total area of land required to sustain an individual) of two
hectares per person, three times less than Shanghai, London or Paris.
Dongtan is surrounded by miles of wetland, vital for birds migrating between Australia
and Siberia. It is determined to preserve the quality of its air, so motor vehicles must be
carbon-neutral and the plans provide for the construction of hydrogen filling stations for
To meet the town planners' requirements, Arup has even designed small, lightweight
vehicles that consume little energy and travel almost bumper-to-bumper, taking up little
room on the roads. Dongtan aims to be energy self-sufficient, meeting all its
requirements with renewable sources - solar, wind and biomass energies.
However, the design team realizes that it will have many obstacles before achieving its
idea. "Even if, with the right design and materials, you manage to build homes that
operate at only two-thirds of current energy levels, individual behavior may completely
upset your plans," says Gutierrez. "That is why we need a combination of rules,
outreach and price incentives to educate the occupants and halt excessive consumption."
5.2.3 Austin As a sustainable City
Its population is 650,000, metropolitan area is 1,250,000, land area 272 sq. miles and
rainfall: 33 inches per year. Seven council members are elected. Council selects a city
manager. Electricity is provided by the municipally-owned Austin Energy (AE). Natural
gas is provided by the Texas Gas Service. Peak electricity load occurs on weekday
afternoons in the summer.2
1 http://www.arup.com/newsitem.cfm?pageid=7009 2 -
SUSTAINABLE CITIES Best Practices for Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency
Austin • Chicago • Fort Collins • Portland h t tp://rmc . sierrac club.org/energy/library/sustainable cities. PDF
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Managerial Dimension (Governance)
EE and RE programs began in 1982 to develop the city of Austian. Austin is working
toward being the "Clean Energy Capital of the World." The Austin City Council, Austin
Energy, the Chamber of Commerce, and the University of Texas actively participate in
the city's renewable energy programs. The Chamber has a Clean Energy Council to
expand on the region's alternative energy industry. The original impetus came from the
city council member, and present Deputy Manager of Austin Energy.
Austin Energy's strategic plan goes into detail on why, what, how, and programs
needed to achieve its vision and mission.
Vision: "We want Austin to be the most livable community in the country."
Mission: "To deliver clean, affordable, reliable energy and excellent customer service."
Austin Energy's primary objectives for its service area are: excellent customer
satisfaction, to create and sustain economic development, provide exceptional system
reliability, maintain financial integrity, and strong commitment to a renewable portfolio
standard (RPS). The RPS is viewed as integral to the other objectives through reducing
both costs and electricity supply cost risks. The plan states: "we have two measures for
our energy resource objective. Our first measure is to achieve a renewable portfolio
standard of 20% by 2020. For our second measure, we intend to achieve an energy
efficiency target of 15% also by 2020; the project is estimated to be finished by 2020."
Financial Dimension (Costs, Sources)
Funding As a municipal utility, Austin Energy is funded through the inclusion of costs
in customer rates. However, any increased costs due to efficiency measures or
renewable initiatives are being offset by the decreased rates associated with not having
to build new power plants. The utility obtains grants and low and zero interest loans
through state and federal programs.1
Reduced Energy Costs Over time, the combined decreases in energy demand
associated with efficiency and renewable programs have saved the city from electricity
needs equal to the annual output of a 500 megawatt power plant. Through thoughtful
application of such measures, Austin has in essence built a "conservation power plant"
instead of an actual coal fired plant. A plant of that size can power 50,000 homes.
The real-cost savings are well illustrated by measures taken within the city's schools.
AE managed and implemented a retrofit program for the school district on 40 schools
(3.5 million square feet). Combined total costs were $3.8 Million.
The state provides low interest loans for this kind of project. Combined rebates (similar
to rebates offered to all customers) were $0.6 million, thus saving the district $480,000
per year in energy costs. The payback is 6.9 years on energy costs alone. In addition to
1 SUSTAINABLE CITIES Best Practices for Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Austin • Chicago • Fort Collins • Portland h t tp://rmc . sierrac club.org/energy/library/sustainable cities. PDF
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 96
reducing energy usage, the retrofits improved bad lighting and reduced maintenance
problems and cost.
Green Building The City of Austin started the first Green Building Program in the U.S.
in 1991. Operated by Austin Energy since 1998, the program evaluates the
sustainability of residential single family, multi-family and commercial buildings using
locally developed rating tools or the USGBC's LEED program. In addition to
evaluating the level of sustainability of buildings, program staffs provide plan review
and recommendations, individual consultation on products and systems, and assistance
in applying for incentives or assistance from other City departments or programs to the
construction industry. The program provides monthly seminars on various Green
Building topics for industry professionals.
In addition to working with industry to develop a supply of green buildings, the
program works with the public to develop demand for more green homes and offices.
The Green by Design workshops are held quarterly and still attract full houses of 80 to
100 people after more than three years. Ads and articles written by program staff
promoting the benefits of green building and builders who have participated in the
program during the previous year are run in the local media.
AE offers a voluntary program for builders to acquire a Green Building star rating for
their new construction. Builders are trained, then they fill out a checklist. AE inspectors
visually check that the items listed in the checklist are installed. In the last year, 1,087
homes - 25% of new, single family construction - were star rated in Austin Energy's
As of 2000, all new city-owned buildings must be at least LEED Silver standard. The
redevelopment of the now closed Robert Mueller Municipal Airport will contain over 5
million square feet of commercial space and over 4,000 residential units when built out.
All commercial buildings must meet either a LEED Silver standard or attain 2 stars on
the Austin Energy Green Building Program's Commercial Rating tool. All housing
must meet an Austin Energy Green Building three star level.
Multi-family Building Programs 40% of AE's customers live in rental housing. Many
of these rental units are in multi-family buildings. AE's website has an apartment finder
that helps perspective renters find energy efficient apartments.
This resource provides a strong incentive for property owners to implement energy
efficient measures on their rental units. Other incentives for multi-family building
owners include lower operating costs, increased occupancy, increased market values,
and rebates up to $100,000. For their part, tenants see utility savings of up to 40%,
improved air quality, and a higher level of comfort.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 97
More than 40,000 apartment units throughout Austin have received rebates for energy
investments through the Multi-Family Program totaling over five million dollars. 1
Income Qualified Programs Free programs are available to income qualified
homeowners and to renters who have been in a home, mobile home, or duplex for a
New Businesses - New Jobs Austin Energy created an economic development incentive
to bring solar manufacturing to Austin. The solar rebate is increased to $6.25 per watt
for solar installations that use solar equipment manufactured in Austin.
The renewable program itself caused the number of Austin-based registered solar
installers to increase from 3 to 8 solar installers in one year.
5.2.4 Chicago as a sustainable City
Population: 2,890,000, metropolitan area: 8,400,000, land area: 228 sq. miles, rainfall:
36 inches per year, Cooling degree days: 940, heating degree days: 6176. Mayor is
elected. City Council consists of 50 Aldermen. Sustainability as a major goal started in
the year 2000. Natural gas is provided by Peoples Energy. Peak load occurs mid-day
during the summer.
Chicago is a member of the Chicago Climate Exchange. While the city does track its
greenhouse gas emissions, it does not trade them, preferring to bank or retire them.
Managerial Dimension (Governance)
Mayor Richard M. Daley's oft-stated goal is for Chicago to become "the most
environment-friendly city in America." Mayor Daley has suggested that "encouraging
environmental innovation will be beneficial for the health of both our citizens and our
economy. Conserving natural resources, and encouraging environmentally efficient
behavior from citizens and businesses, not only ensures the sustained health of the City
but it also makes plain common sense of life in our great neighborhoods." "Leading by
example" is Chicago's intent. The city has established aggressive goals for city and
allied agency buildings, including a target of 20 percent municipal electricity from
renewable resources by 2005, and an envisioned 30% reduction in environmental
footprint by 2020.
In 2005, Chicago released an 80-page Environmental Action Agenda: Building the
Sustainable City. The comprehensive and detailed plan is divided into 17 functional
areas - Airports to Waste and Recycling.
1 SUSTAINABLE CITIES Best Practices for Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Austin • Chicago • Fort Collins • Portland sierrac club.org/energy/library/sustainable cities. PDF
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There are three primary strategies within the agenda:
1. Conserving, protecting, and restoring natural resources.
2. Encouraging healthy environmental practices.
3. Leading by example.
Each functional area has sections for Mission, Accomplishments, Action Agenda for
2005, and Action Agenda for 2010/2020.1
Financial Dimension (Costs, Sources)
Funding Initial funding was greatly helped by a 1999 settlement agreement with
Coming for $100 million. The settlement came about after power failures during major
heat waves in 1995 and 1999 resulted in hundreds of deaths.
EE & RE projects are paid for via the settlement fund, together with grant monies, funds
from the city budget, and other funding mechanisms.
Additional funding of $6 million was negotiated within the Chicago municipal franchise
agreement with Coming. This was partially used to fund the Chicago Solar Partnership.
Reduced Energy Costs The City is in the process of auditing and retrofitting 15 million
square feet of public buildings with efficient equipment for heating and cooling, lighting
and ventilation. Energy savings are estimated to be $6 million annually. In addition, the
retrofits will reduce annual pollution significantly — an estimated 30,000 tons of carbon
dioxide, 84 tons of nitrous oxides and 128 tons of sulfur dioxide.
Green Building Because city buildings are expected to have a 100-years life, the city
has made huge commitment to designing and building superior new structures.
If a commercial builder takes city money under a grant program for a new building,
their end-product must have a green roof, be energy star compliant, or be LEED
The Green Bungalow Program renovated four abandoned bungalows for moderate
income ownership. Energy efficient and environmentally sustainable rehabilitation
techniques incorporated into the project afforded energy savings of up to $1,050/year.
Drawing considerable public attention, the program was publicized through newspaper
and magazine articles, websites and conference presentations. Over 2,000 people have
toured the houses.
1 SUSTAINABLE CITIES Best Practices for Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Austin • Chicago • Fort Collins • Portland sierraclub.org/energy/library/sustainable cities. PDF
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 99
Multi-Family Building Programs Most of the multi-family EE activity in Chicago has
been aimed at either city-owned or managed properties. 63 multifamily buildings - or
1,447 units - have been rehabilitated since 1988. Seven new multi-family buildings -
570 units - have been built so as to maximize energy efficiency. Results include an
average space heating reduction of 50%.
Income Qualified Programs Working with other agencies, the city has created the
New Homes for Chicago Program. The award-winning New Homes for South Chicago
project is being developed by consultants in Partnership with the Chicago departments
of Housing and Environment. This 25-homes project incorporates many energy
efficiency features. For example, the homes are constructed with Structural Insulated
Half the homes will also include solar electric (Photovoltaic) systems. Funded and
supported by a variety of grants and programs, the goal was to make this project as
green as possible. Lessons learned so far include that SIPs, while more expensive to
buy, in fact cost lower than standard construction framing due to reduced labor and
1 Sustainable Cities Best Practices for Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency: Austin • Chicago • Fort Collins • Portland www.sierraclub.org/energy/library/sustainablecities.PDF
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 100
6.Criteria-Model for Sustainable Egyptian Cities
Today, cities worldwide are confronted with an enormous quantity and quality of
challenges which cannot be handled by traditional methods of management and
governance any longer. The social, economic, ecological and cultural problems are
pressing and cumulating even further due to accelerated growth, change, and
In the future, more cities will adapt and follow principles and criteria of Sustainable
By examining the characteristics of a sustainable community, a better understanding can
be reached about defining a sustainable community. Being very complex entities, cities
can be characterized by a number of different properties. These properties may change
across countries and geographical regions. Therefore there is no intention in this chapter
to deliver the ultimate criteria system, to offer the miraculous one-size-fits-all
definition. Rather, it is intended to present food for thought, material for a better
orientation of ones own working field and tasks, to serve a sound basis for defining an
individual system for specific circumstances through all major stakeholders in a
community. Only such a participatory approach towards defining criteria will mobilize
support and foster legitimacy for the whole activity and project.
As mentioned above, the most important sustainability dimensions in sustainable cities
are: economy, environment, social cohesion, and governance. They are the pillars of
a sustainable city. These must be in balance and therefore require an integrated
approach. Dialogue is the basic principle for achieving this for Local Agenda 21.1
Economic issues include good jobs, good wages, stable businesses, appropriate
technology development and implementation, business development, etc. If a
community does not have a strong economy, then it can not be healthy and sustainable
over the long term. From an environmental standpoint, a community can be sustainable
over the long term only if it is not degrading its environment or using up finite
Environmental concerns include protecting human and environmental health; having
healthy ecosystems and habitat; reducing and/or eliminating pollution in water, air, and
land; providing green spaces and parks for wildlife, recreation, and other uses; pursuing
ecosystem management; protecting biodiversity; etc….
Social issues addressed in sustainable community efforts include education, crime,
equity, inner-city problems, community building, spirituality, environmental justice, etc.
If a community has significant social problems, such as serious crime, then it cannot be
healthy and stable over the long term.
1 This and some of the following formulations are taken from The Hague, 23, 24, 25 June 1999: http://www.denhaag.nl/sust.cities99/theme.htm
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 101
The management and governance of human settlements is a basic part of the
development of civilizations for several thousands of years. Most sustainable
community efforts also involve an open process in which every member of the
community is encouraged to participate. The focus is on consensus building for the
community. The emphasis is on communication and cooperation among many different
interests and stakeholders from the community and also from those outside the
geographic community if their actions might affect the community. Compromise by
special interests is also important where necessary. All the different segments of the
community at the local and regional levels, including businesses, individuals,
environmental and community groups, and the government, need to cooperatively work
together to move toward sustainability.
6.1 Definition set for Sustainable Cities
Within the scientific discourse about sustainability there are more than 200 different definitions in use. Based on many other definitions and concepts21 and in order to contribute to the rapid development of cities in Egypt, we propose - based on the principles of sustainable development - the following criteria for sustainable cities for Egypt. Sustainable cities in Egypt should
• Utilize and mobilize all relevant means – knowledge, stakeholders, etc. – to
improve and secure the quality of life for its citizens and guests, and for future generations.
• Use all resources efficiently (by resource management), and actively seek to
retain and enhance a locally/regionally based economy (sustainable
• Know the costs of non-action, of postponing urgent decisions and actions.
They are open to learn from their own experience and from others, they
initiate a continuous learning process and reflexive management.
• Take steps to take into account future generations and to take a balanced and
healthy course over the long term.
• Have a strong sense of responsibility, care, solidarity, human development,
ethical principals, happiness, feel like "home", safety and security –
regardless of citizens' individual beliefs, sex/gender, age, class and race.
• Create a vision that is embraced and actively promoted by all of the key
sectors of society, including businesses, disadvantaged groups,
environmentalists, civic associations, government agencies, and religious
1 Some of the sources for this definition are the following: U.N. document "Agenda 21" (1992); Institute for Sustainable Communities; "CDS-Guidelines (2006): What constitutes a good City Development Strategy?"; Chengdu Declaration. Chengdu International Conference on Learning from Best Practices. Chengdu, China, 16-18 October 2000, http://www.bestpractices.org/chengdu/declaration.htm.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 102
• Build on their assets, local traditions and potentials, use all their resources
effectively and try to be innovative: to make their city and their citizens "fit
• Create a pervasive volunteer spirit and a sense of community that is
rewarded by concrete results. Partnerships between and among the
government, the business sector, and nonprofit organizations are getting
common. Public debate and participation oriented on the local specific needs
in these communities is engaging, inclusive, and constructive and creates
6.2 Sustainable Cities for Egypt - A Criteria Model
A sustainable Egyptian city can be described as one that is able to provide the basic
needs of the population along with the necessary infrastructure of civic amenities, health
and medical care, housing, education, transportation, employment, good governance,
etc. It should take care of the population's needs and all sections of society without
discrimination. As it pertains to conditions in Egypt, due emphasis would be in
controlling population growth and providing housing to the impoverished sections of
society who live in sub-human conditions in slums, eking out livelihoods below the
minimum wages and creating environmental degradation. Burgeoning population also
leads to exploitation, crime and lawlessness due to shrinking job opportunities. For
example, the population of Cairo increases every year due to migration, putting a
question mark on the sustainability of this capital metropolis. This alarming increase in
population puts an unacceptable strain on housing, employment, healthcare, water and
electricity. Large "green" areas are converted to housing colonies leading to
The following table presents a combination of the different dimensions of Sustainability
and their specific manifestations on different levels of reality. For each of the five
Sustainability dimensions, 3 distinct features are formulated for sustainable Egyptian
Table 6: Criteria Model for Sustainable Cities in Egypt
Fields of Action
Compact forms of residential
Ratio of natural open
development - Smart
space per capita, public
architecture - Natural open
transport intensity, green
spaces - Mixed land use;
homes, jobs and shopping in
density, informal areas
close proximity - Affordable
housing, Public transport
Increase in resource Good jobs - Decent wages -
Stable businesses -
vocational training and
average wage of women,
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Good business base implementation - Business
closure rate, etc.
development - Good
(human capital) Population
Population density -
Education, Health, Crime,
Equity, Community building,
Spirituality - Environmental
literacy, crime rate,
Safety and health
justice - Sense of community - health expenditures,
Preservation of heritage
hospital occupancy etc.
Public debates, pluralism and tolerance (media etc.) Reducing resource
Re-use of materials –
Share of renewable
Reclamation - Reduction of
energy sources in total
energy - Healthy
industrial waste - Using wind
energy consumption, %
Environmental ecosystems and
and solar energy- Eliminating
habitats (water, air
pollution in water, air, and
of air pollution, etc.
Increased role of
Better transparency - Public
Level of decentralization
local government – participation - Equity
- adequacy of financial
resources – election
Local capacity –
Corruption – Better resources
This system of dimensions, criteria and indicators for a sustainable city development is
meant to function as an inspiration for decision-makers, organizations and interested
citizens. It has to be underlined again, that as part of a process of an activity towards
sustainable development, the use of criteria and principles is crucial because it is all
about quality of life and concrete impact and lasting solutions. Criteria etc. serve as
guidance for all action, small and big, individual and collective. Therefore it is
necessary to construct or (re)define specific criteria systems for each major city
6.3 Suggestions: Steps and Success Factors for Sustainable Cities
Leading a community towards Sustainability is ambitious and necessary. Fortunately
many cities have begun this innovative kind of future-oriented process. Based on the
experience in sustainability projects in many European countries and elsewhere, it is of
utmost importance to improve, innovate and modernize policy and management
activities (towards sustainable governance). There are twelve steps identified for
initiatives for SD that have to be considered, and which are factors for success1:
1 See for instance Goell 2007: „Becoming sustainable – Suggestions for local sustainability initiatives. Theses" (in German); Federal Education and Networking Congress for local sustainability initiatives, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Berlin)
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 104
1. Utilizing Tools: For identifying the current situation and major challenges on the
local level, tools should be utilized like SWOT-analysis, sustainability reporting,
establishing task forces, establishment of parliamentary Inquiry Commissions etc.
2. Defining indicators and setting up a Strategy: For setting goals and priorities
approaches like the creation of a community vision, systems of indicators, and the
development of a local strategy for SD or a Local Agenda 21 should be used.
3. Strong management: For increasing the relevance and impact of SD in the
community, steps should be taken like a supportive decision by city council, resolutions
adopted by local parliaments, self commitments declared by organizations from civil
society and especially business to act according to SD principles.
4. Policy integration: For increasing integration and producing synergies between
sectors and programs several approaches have been used: for instance to combine LA-
21-processes with other community procedures like Integrated City Development,
administrative reform, city marketing, policies to reduce climate change, and sometimes
in the course of these activities resort-crossing lead visions and SD-indicators were
5. Internal Communication and Coordination: For improving goal-orientation and
efficiency on the local level, the establishment of central clearing- and coordination
offices, professional moderators, process management, and qualification activities for
actors should be put in place, councils and advisory boards are recommended.
6. Incentives for projects and innovations: In order to make sustainability "visible"
attractive projects should be realized within the local authorities and corporations.
Incentives such as awards and prizes could be used as a support for projects with strong
7. Resource mobilization: For mobilization and strengthening of resources, steps have
been taken like exchange place for volunteers, citizens foundations, citizens budgets,
pilot projects between citizens and administrations, regular feedback from and to
volunteers; corporations can support sponsoring and fundraising.
8. Strong Public Relations: For communicating the activities and results, smart public
relations should be practiced, attractive presentation of success stories and possibilities
for concrete action and participation in relevant media, using internet, newsletters,
printed products, initiating awards etc.
9. Deepening Participation: For enhancing and deepening participation and civic
engagement, methods like Round Table, Future Workshops and Future Conferences,
Open Space, Planning Cells, Public Hearings, Citizens Decisions should be used.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 105
10. Local and Regional Networking: In order to strengthen SD-activities, several
approaches for local and regional networking could be used, such as city-belt-
cooperation, Local Agenda 21-Networks etc.
11. Strong Evaluation and Monitoring Systems: In order to use resources in a more
efficient way various tools for evaluation and controlling should be used, among them
SD indicators, monitoring systems, SWOT-analysis, SD reports of administrations,
institutions or corporations; Sustainability checks for bills in local and regional
parliaments, competitions for SD.
12. Capacity Building: In order to develop supportive and strengthening context
conditions, there should be concentrated support for capacity building (i.e. for
monitoring and evaluation, conducting campaigns with support from all relevant
"Toolkit" for decision makers in a sustainable cities process (characteristics):
(i) Strategic thrusts are the product of high quality rapid assessment, the Vision, and
SWOT analysis. The thrusts follow logically from the foregoing. Thus it is internally
(ii) It consists of a limited number of strategic thrusts, the product of tough choices. In a
good strategy, nothing is of equal importance.
(iii) It is realistic, but challenging.
(iv) Because it focuses on a limited number of actions, the Sustainable City strategy has
a high probability of producing results.
(v) Achievement is measurable, and is measured, using a set of lean, powerful results-
(vi) Strategic thrusts are cross-cutting, rarely is a strategic thrust implemented by one
agency. Different types of agencies, enterprises, and actors, different modes (e.g., public
sector delivery, public-private partnerships, changed household behavior motivated by
changed incentive structures, awareness campaigns) are utilized to implement strategies.
(vii) Responsibility for implementation is clearly defined, against definitive targets and
timelines. Champions need to be identified to push implementation of each strategic
(viii) Incentives are in place to drive performance – to institutions and individuals that
excel in strategy implementation. These can take a variety of forms, e.g., financial,
awards, and community recognition.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 106
(ix) Flexibility exists within the strategic framework to adapt and change tactics as conditions change, but the vision remains constant. Sustainable Development at the local level is a basic issue for communities and their leadership. Yet, as is known from many examples support and incentives from the national level of a country are of utmost relevance, they can make a difference. In countries like Sweden, Great Britain and Germany specific help from the national administration and agencies made it able, that many cities started Sustainable processes, some of them very successful. Therefore, in the case of Egypt with its strong central government, it should also support local activities with great esteem and resources. Besides the relevant ministries, state agencies and governorate institutions, the local sustainable development could become a major task for the Egyptian National Commission on Sustainable Development, which was established in 2006 by Prime Minister Dr. Ahmed Nazif (Prime Minister Resolution No. 74 2006). The Commission is chaired by the Minister of the Environment.1 The Commission has the task to adopt national policies for sustainable development and give direction for the integration of environmental issues in the sectors of development and various services, and to review and approve the national strategy for sustainable development. The Commission also ratified the plans and requirements for providing technical support to all the national authorities concerned to achieve sustainable development, evaluation and certification of action plans and proposed funding of the Technical Secretariat according to the priorities of national action plans. The Commission is adopting a platform for private support and will promote decentralization through the delegation of authority to institutions in various sectors and geographic ranges. The Commission is also asked to support the use of implementation methodologies to support decentralization and participation of all actors at various geographic levels. The Commission seems to be an important partner for local sustainability processes. It could mobilize many resources and commitment in communities.
1 Members of the Commission are high-ranking representatives from the ministries of finance, housing, oil, electricity, international cooperation, planning and local development, health, population, agriculture and Higher Education and Scientific Research, Education, Foreign Affairs, Information, Transport and the State for Administrative Development, investment, tourism, trade and industry. Furthermore, there are representatives of the National Council for Women, the Federation of Industries, the General Federation of Private Associations, the General Federation of Chambers of Commerce, the General Union of Workers, the Supreme Council of the Press, the Central Agricultural Cooperative Union and the National Council for Youth.
Sustainable Cities in Egypt 107
References and selected literature
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Desert" (Edinburgh: Floris Books)
2. Amin, Galal (2006): "The Illusion of Progress in the Arab World. A Critique of
Western Misconstructions" (Cairo: The American University of Cairo Press)
3. Amman Workshop on Local Development Planning, Jordan, Dead Sea, March
4. El-Batran, Manal (2002): "Urban Development in an Era of Global Economy:
The Experience of Cairo Metropolitan Region" (Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities) Cairo, EGYPT (Paper presented at the Congress "Metropolisation in a Global Economy", The Hague, June 2002)
5. El-Baz, Farouk (2006): Desert Development Corridor: Into the Sahara, in: Al
Ahram weekly [http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/print/2006/794/sc789.htm]
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11. Coghlan, Alexandra / Prideaux, Bruce (2009): 4WD Desert tourism – an
examination of attitudes, motivations and perceptions. DKCRC Working Paper 43. The Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre (DK-CRC), Alice Springs/Australia
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(Desert Knowledge Symposium Paper November 1-3 2006), The Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre (DK-CRC), Alice Springs/Australia
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the Negev, The Blaustein Institute for Desert Research)
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The transport and mobility interface, Working Paper 2, The Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre (DK-CRC), Alice Springs/Australia
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Sustainable Cities in Egypt 110
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34. UNDP and MOLD (Eds.) (2008): "Egyptian Governorates Human Development
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36. www.nachhaltigkeit.at - Österreichs Internetportal für Nachhaltige Entwicklung
(2005): Urbane Nachhaltigkeit. Thema des Monats 11/2005. (ZSI - Zentrum für soziale Innovation - Judith Feichtinger et al.), pp. 16ff.
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(Volume II), Cairo, June 2008
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Sustainable Cities in Egypt 111
Interviews were conducted with the following experts
• Dr. Hala Adel
• National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences (NARSS)
• Ahmed Farouk • Project Manager, Center for Development Services
• Dr. Sherif Al-Gohary
• Ein Shams University, Faculty of Architecture
• Dr. Mostafa Madbouly
• Deputy Chairman, GOPP-General Authority for Physical Planning (MHUUD)
• Ali Mokhtar • Program Manager, Center for Development Services
• Urban Development Expert, Consultant for World Bank etc.
• Prof. Dr. Richard Tutwiler • Director, AUC – Desert Development Center
• Prof. Dr. Adel Yasseen
• Ein Shams University, Faculty of Architecture
• Dr. Abd El-Wahab
• Banha University, Environmental Consultant
• Paul Weber • Expert, German Development Cooperation (GTZ) Water Development Project
21st European Conference on Fracture, ECF21, 20-24 June 2016, Catania, Italy Fatigue microstructural evolution in pseudo elastic NiTi alloy Vittorio Di Coccoa*, Francesco Iacovielloa, Stefano Natalib aDICeM – University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, Cassino (FR) 03043, Italy bD.I.C.M.A - "La Sapienza" University, Rome 0018, Italy Abstract
des trusts de la pharma Etude de Henri Houben Edito/Clients de tous les pays, 01 La santé insolente 02 La constitution d'un monopole 12 Quand Big Pharma s'emmêle dans la politique 20 Le Belge a-t-il une brique ou un médicament dans son ventre? 26 Quand la santé publique faisait les affaires du privé 28 Médicaments génériques menaces au Sud!/Marc François 35