May al-Ibrashy


Based in al-Khalifa in Historic Cairo and run by the Megawra-Built Environment CollectiveAthar Lina is a participatory initiative to establish modalities of citizen participation in heritage conservation based on a vision of heritage as a resource not a burden. Since its inception in 2012, Athar Lina has worked on conservation, heritage education, urban revitalization and heritage industries. It has conserved four domes from the 12th and 14th century and is currently working on the conservation of two other monuments including al-Imam al-Shafi’i shrine. It runs an Open-Spaces Program focusing on improving infrastructure and services to upgrade quality of open spaces. This is directly linked to Athar Lina’s Ground Water Research Project which seeks to resolve problems of groundwater-rise in heritage sites by extracting water and reusing it for the benefit of the community for purposes such as irrigation and cleaning. In addition to its Heritage Education Program and the Heritage Summer School it runs for al-Khalifa’s children, it runs the Athar Lina Heritage Design Thinking School which explores the potential of heritage for income-generation. Finally, through its research and advocacy project, Citizen Participation in Historic Cairo, Athar Lina is working on conservation, revitalization and management plans for al-Khalifa. 


How to Cite
al-Ibrashy, M. (2021) “Heritage in the Street: Megawra | BEC’s Athar Lina Initiative in Historic Cairo”, The Journal of Public Space, 6(1), pp. 241–256. doi: 10.32891/jps.v6i1.1462.
Author Biography

May al-Ibrashy, Megawra | Built Environment Collective

May al-Ibrashy is a licensed architectural engineer with close to 30 years of field experience in conservation and heritage management in Historic Cairo. She holds a BSc in Architectural Engineering from Ain Shams University, an MA in Art, Architecture and Archaeology and a PhD in Archaeology from the University of London. She is currently founder and chair of Megawra-Built Environment Collective, a twin institution consisting of Egyptian NGO and consultancy working on issues of the built environment. She coordinates Athar Lina, an initiative run by Megawra-BEC in partnership with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and Cairo Governorate that conserves the heritage of al-Khalifa in Historic Cairo and conceives of it as a driver for community development. So far, through Athar Lina, she has conserved three monuments from the Islamic period and is working on two more, one of which is the conservation of the Mausoleum of al-Imam al-Shafi’i. Other projects include Athar Lina’s Heritage Education Program, Open Spaces Program, Groundwater Research Project and Heritage Design Thinking School. Al-Ibrashy is also adjunct lecturer of architecture at the American University in Cairo and Professor of Practice at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.