Ard Al-Liwa Community Park
Client: Ard Al-Liwa’s Community
Partners: Ministry of Housing, Ministry of Transport, Giza Governorate, Ministry of Defence – CORP, GOPP, Local Community (Ard Al-Liwa Youth Coalition, Ard Al-Horreya Community Organizations), General Authority for Egypt Railway, Ministry of Endowments
Location: Ard Al-Liwa, Giza, Egypt
Date: May, 2012 – ongoing
Ard al-Liwa lies in the informal belt in the city of Giza, aligned with the railway and Zomor canal that extends north from Imbaba and Bashtil to Omrania in the south. Like many informal areas, Ard al-Liwa suffers from numerous problems, including a lack of services and open areas, as well as a deteriorated infrastructure. A crisis exists at the junctures where Ard al-Liwa makes contact with Mohandesin: a limited number of crossings and bridges have created traffic bottlenecks that endanger pedestrians, particularly children and the elderly. In addition, the spread of street vendors, informal markets and construction non-compliance with building standards has led to an unsafe environment.
Ard Al-Liwa: Community & Process
At the end of February 2012, the Ard al-Liwa community were confronted by the unexpected leveling of the sole remaining greenspace in the area, slated for a housing development. Recognizing the importance of the site as offering a last chance for public open spaces services, the people tried to stop the development, organizing a peaceful protest. The people came together to call for an alternative development of the site as a community park.
Urban Approach & Project Assignment
In April 2012 the community assigned the project to CLUSTER, to develop a design proposal for the park. Working in coordination with ministries and government bodies in addition to The Popular Coalition in Ard al-Liwa, CLUSTER is working to define residents’ needs and develop a vision for the park. The project site and programmatic elements offer an opportunity for an alternative urban development vision on multiple levels: the city, the district and the neighborhood. The site lies within a grand urban corridor stretching north to south and separating planned districts from informal neighborhoods.
Viewed as part of a larger city-scale pattern of deteriorating infrastructure networks, it bears the potential of establishing green corridors that would turn the former edge condition into one of connectivity. By addressing traffic congestion and crossing problems, this intermediary zone would contribute to restructuring the formal-informal relation from one of exclusion and marginalization into one of integration and interdependence. The linear morphology of the site offers room for a series of recreational facilities and services lacking in Ard al-Liwa and a generic solution for informal areas in general.