Renewing Life and Heritage on the River
In 2010, we conceived a plan to craft a collaborative learning experience and to catalyze a new understanding of the Nile as a public resource for the people of Cairo. With a population of over eleven million, Cairo is one of the densest cities in the world, supporting an urban population underserved by parks and other public open space. Yet the city holds remarkable opportunities to reconnect its people with the river that was historically its heart.
In January of 2011 in Cairo, in an intensive workshop involving 23 students and seven faculty from Cairo University (CU), The American University in Cairo (AUC), and the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), interdisciplinary teams systematically inventoried existing conditions along a 12-km reach of the Nile from Maadi to Tahrir Square. The details of this workshop and its results were compiled in a report available online.
Based on this fieldwork the student teams identified specific opportunities for ecological restoration and better open space connectivity with the rest of the city. The presence of historic landmarks and excellent views along the Nile also provide significant prospects for urban revitalization and economic development.
Challenges were pin-pointed relating to the existence of incongruent public and private land-uses along the Nile Corniche, and to urban waste management along the waterfront.
Following their investigations, workshop participants developed a strategic plan for a continuous trail network along the Nile with connectivity to important nodes in Cairo. They also developed detailed plans for the revitalization of two key zones: Athur El Nabi and Old Cairo.
The workshop ended just one week before demonstrations erupted in the streets of Cairo, highlighting public desires, expectations, and demands for major change. Bringing the people to the riverbanks could be an important step in improving daily life for millions, and could strengthen the city’s social fabric, and contribute to the democratization of Egyptian society.
UC Berkeley Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Faculty Advisors and Coordinators:
- Matt Kondolf
- Louise Mozingo
- Linda Jewell
- Amir Gohar
Cairo Advisors and Coordinators:
- Ahmed Sherif
- Khalid Z. El Adli
- Abbas el-Zafarany
- Aboulfetouh S. Shalaby
- Sami Shaker
- Mohamed Nagib Abou-Zeid
- Noha Abbassy (AUC)
- Krishnachandran Balakrishnan (UC Berkeley)
- Tami Church (UC Berkeley)
- Richard Crockett (UC Berkeley)
- Nada Abd El-Aziz (CU)
- Fekria El- Bialy (CU)
- Ali Abd El Gawad (CU)
- Momen El-Husseiny (AUC/UC Berkeley)
- Mohamed El Kharbotly (AUC)
- Heba Ezzat (CU)
- Salsabil Fahmy (AUC)
- Ahmed Farouk (CU)
- Erene Kamal (CU)
- Michal Kapitulnik (UC Berkeley)
- Mirette Khorshed (AUC)
- Madonna Maher (CU)
- Malak Maher (AUC)
- Rachael Marzion (UC Berkeley)
- Nada Nafeh (AUC)
- Adrienne Smith (UC Berkeley)
- Bahaa Stephanos (AUC)
- Mohamed Tarek (CU)
- Rob Tidmore (UC Berkeley)