The Uneven City: Planning Insurgencies in Ramlet Bulaq and Maspero Triangle

by Khalid Shakran

Institution: University of California – Irvine
Year: 2016
Keywords: Urban planning; Middle Eastern studies; Sociology; Cairo; Gentrification; Insurgent Planning; Participatory Planning; Radical Planning
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2110351
Full text PDF: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/2441k3s4


Cairo, Egypt holds 4 of the 30 largest “mega-slums” in the world with nearly 60 percent of Cairo’s population inhabiting informal settlements (Davis, 2007; Khalifa, 2013). Two of these settlements, Ramlet Bulaq and the Maspero Triangle in West Cairo, consistently experience evictions inflicted by state and private developers since the mid-2000s. The central question orienting this research is: How do Ramlet Bulaq and Maspero inhabitants develop insurgent planning practices to resist state and private developer forced removals? The paper builds Beard’s (2003) nuanced model of radical planning to address “how citizens [under authoritarian contexts] acquire skills, experience and political consciousness necessary to bring about significant social and political change” (p.13) and Miraftab’s (2009) conceptualization of insurgent planning as “counter-hegemonic, transgressive, and imaginative” to explain for the different planning insurgencies under authoritarian contexts. The study shows how insurgents foment direct planning action through an “organizational infrastructure” to establish networks of collective actions and solidarity across the city; the factors that contribute to insurgencies and the degree of organizational formalization; and the factors responsible for derailing both insurgencies.