Cairo Downtown Passages aims to develop a pilot urban design and art project in the northern part of downtown Cairo, highlighting existing and emerging initiatives and activating underutilized public spaces. This passageway redevelopment project emerged from a design workshop held in April 2014, exploring art and design interventions in two passageways in Downtown Cairo, the Kodak and Phillips Passageways, organized collaboratively by CLUSTER with DEDI and CKU. This pilot project seeks to promote a more diverse, inclusive, and accessible public space in these downtown passages.
The two adjacent and interlinked pilot passageways exemplify two different conditions. The Phillips passage presents a typical commercial/mixed use passage, with the Kodak Passage being a less frequented and relatively well-maintained urban pocket. The workshop selected the two passages as sites to engage multiple stakeholders, including residents, shop owners, developers, street vendors, women’s right groups, artists and cultural organizations, planners and heritage conservation groups.
The workshop objectives were as follows:
- Develop strategies for alternative modes of interdisciplinary development for Downtown through focused pilot projects/public spaces that are strategically located within a broader regenerative network that considers art as a potential catalyst for urban development.
- Foster collaboration between artists, architects and urban planners in both Egyptian and Danish professional practice, building on the latter’s long tradition of art in public space.
Four Egyptian artists and architects were paired with four Danish artists and architects to conceptualize and produce a design concept for intervention in each passage, incorporating input from the local community.
The participants were as follows: Kenneth Balfelt (DK), Yasmin Elayat (EG), Jakob Fenger (Superflex) (DK), Anne Marie Galmstrup (DK), Adham Selim (EG), Bianca M. Hermansen (DK), Manar Moursi (EG),Aya Tarek (EG), Ahmed Zaazaa (EG).