Over 20 million people, many of whom live close to the poverty line, reside in Cairo, which was designed for a population about one-fourth of its current number. A single slum in the city, as Tarek El-Tablawy of the Associated Press pointed out earlier this year, has more residents than the combined populations of Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain.
Cairo has had to balance a growth in population, with an urban design that was Hausmanian, favoring wide road ways, gardens and upscale apartments designed to showcase the “modernism” of Cairo – in terms of its publics, identities and practices. However, with Sadat’s infitah, the new middle and upper classes moved out to suburbia, building a recreational life in clubs and gated communities with golf courses and other amenities as public space became usurped for other purposes and Modernist Cairo became modern Cairo. Continue reading “Friday in Aga Khan’s Park”