Egypt’s Deregulated Property Market: A Crisis of Affordability

Source: Middle East Institute
Author(s): Yahia Shawkat

Original Link:

What Egyptians call the azmit al-iskan—the housing crisis—is exemplified by the 1986 movie, Karakon fi-l-Shari‘a, or Prison in the Street. The film depicts a typical middle class family that, evicted from its condemned home, must resort to living in a horse-drawn caravan because a regular apartment is unaffordable. The “prison” in the title is a reference to the father’s numerous altercations with the police, who deem his attempts to make a home quasi-legal—not illegal, but also not legal. These attempts eventually end with the family squatting on desert land, where a community of similarly displaced families has started to build their own informal shelters….

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