Changing Cairo’s Spaces from the Bottom Up

Source: Middle East Institute
Author(s): Maria Golia

Original Link:

In mid-June, just before Ramadan, the pre-dawn calm of downtown Cairo was shattered by the sound of heavy machinery. The municipality had decided to repair the battered sidewalks, a fairly regular occurrence since shoddy concrete tiles are typically used for the job. Truckloads of sand were deposited at intervals along the main boulevards to be spread as a bed for the new tiles, while much of the rubble from the old ones was left piled by the curbs. To avoid the rough new terrain pedestrians took to the streets with the cars. Nearly two simmering summer months passed before all the sidewalks were repaved, at a time of year when Cairenes ordinarily flock downtown to shop, have an ice cream, or just stroll. Dismayed shop owners placed carpets or mats across the sand at their entries to encourage customers, but “business,” they agreed, was “not good.”…

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