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Greening and opening the public space of the Nile banks. A demonstration case study in Maadi, Cairo

Abstract

The Nile, in general, and particularly in Cairo, is an ecological, cultural and social corridor that is not yet fully utilized. The 2011 Cairo workshop “Connecting Cairo to the Nile” identified the potential to increase accessibility to the river, suggested longitude trail system, proposed connecting the waterfront with adjacent neighborhoods and proposed expanding the ferry system. I studied a 2-km reach of the east bank in Maadi, a wealthy suburb about 10 km upstream of the city center, with relatively greener banks, availability of resources at the district level, higher awareness of local residents, physical setting allow for banks re-use, existence of community organizations (i.e. Tree Lovers and Midan).  Findings of fieldwork and interviews show that: (i) species of native vegetation found are Phoenix Dactylifera, Jacaranda, Cortedarea and Papyrus alba; these are concentrated along 115 meter in southern part of the study area. (ii) Public access was categorized into: public space (accessible), private or semi-public space (accessible with conditions), and prohibited (inaccessible). Along this representative stretch of the Nile, the public access was limited to 16%, the private or semi-public makes 29% and the prohibited zones are 55%. (iii) Boating operations found to be in three categories, floating hotels (Nile cruises), motor boats (including ferries) and sailing boats, all are scattered along the banks without an overall plan or organization, which affects water flow and block public access to the banks. To better develop the banks, I recommend (i) maintaining existing riparian vegetation and expand it to other areas with healthy banks or planted nurseries, (ii) connecting open public spaces to create a pleasant walking trail along the banks in addition to improving public access by relocating government buildings (such as the police or military facilities) and facilitate access to the river for general public, (iii) reducing the anchoring points to two locations and redistribute boating operations to group all motor boats to use the ferry anchoring points and all the sailing boats to use Al-Yacht club marina.

Published:
Pages:31 to 48
Section: Space
How to Cite
Gohar, A. (2018) “Greening and opening the public space of the Nile banks. A demonstration case study in Maadi, Cairo”, The Journal of Public Space, 3(1), pp. 31-48. doi: 10.5204/jps.v3i1.317.

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Author Biography

University of California Berkeley
United States United States

Amir Gohar is an urban planner and designer with nearly two decades of working experience with municipal governments, research institutes, international development agencies, private sector firms and local community organizations. He has worked extensively in public space in coastal settlements, dense urban forms, and historic urban centers across the Middle east and Africa. His research focuses on finding the appropriate balance between the trendies of rapid urbanization and ecological integrity of open spaces in cities. He is passionate, experienced and delivered numerous lectures about community engagement in public space. He teaches landscape design studio and urban & environmental studies seminars. In addition, he is founding member of “MIDAN”, a nonprofit dedicated to public space rehabilitation. Gohar obtained degrees in urban planning from Cairo, a Master in Urban design from Oxford Brookes, and a diploma in Land Management from Erasmus.

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