Cairo’s Desert Cities
Editors: Marc Angélil and Charlotte Malterre- Barthes in collaboration with Something Fantastic and CLUSTER
Book Launch and Panel discussion with:
Charlotte Malterre-Barthes, Director, MAS Urban Design
David Sims, Author of Understanding Cairo: The Logic of a City Out of Control
Kareem Ibrahim, Co-founder, Takween Integrated Community Development/ TADAMUN: The Cairo Urban Solidarity Initiative
Leonard Streich, Co-Founder, Something Fantastic, MAS Urban Design
Moderated by Beth Stryker, Co-founder CLUSTER
Presented since 1950 as the solution to all urban problems, new cities have flourished in the deserts around Cairo. Colossal amounts of money and resources have been spent in the name of a modern Egypt, all of which have yet to show success. Instigated by the Master of Advanced Studies in Urban Design at the Chair of Marc Angélil, ETH Zurich, and directed by Charlotte Malterre-Barthes with Something Fantastic in collaboration with CLUSTER, this study explores these cities, their failures and relative accomplishments, and the urban conditions that have emerged as a result.
With the intention of launching a critical conversation, Cairo Desert Cities asks: If desert development must happen, why does it have to be unsustainable and poorly designed? Embracing the responsibility held by the design professions in directing this urbanization, the publication explores existing desert architecture, analyzes its urban forms, and proposes design solutions, thus offering another take on desert development.