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Blessed or cursed shall you be in a city. Although cities are exciting places where facilities and workplaces are usually available, living in a big city can have major disadvantages such as pollution, noise, and lack of safety. In Egypt, countless studies have outlined local issues and visions for our urban future. Such studies, which cost the state millions of pounds, are gathering dust in the drawers of governmental institutions. A closer look shows that it is a blessing that the schemes and projects of the proposed visions did not see the light of the day.
A major example of that is the Giza 2030 strategic plan that the Egyptian government proposed in 2008 as a vision for the city’s future. In a 185-slide PowerPoint presentation, the General Organization for Physical Planning (GOPP) showed some extremely ambitious projects. According to the GOPP, the vision for Giza is to become the most unique city in the world, transformed to beautifully combine heritage and modernity within a time span of twenty years, and with no care about cost implications. The proposed scheme, in my view, is a good model for a camouflaged corruption.
In this vision for Giza, the future expansion of the city (2730 hectares) will be on an adjacent agricultural land, while islands on the river Nile (861 hectares) would be developed by private investors into private parks and residential zones. Moreover, there will be mega-projects such as Sphinx Village, Khufu plaza, new hotels, open museums, new green housing in addition to a forest of 294 hectares. There will also be rapid transit systems as well as a freeway of 75 meters (246 feet) width cutting through the heart of the city. That is not the whole story. There are also specialised hospitals, schools and other urban facilities planned. All poor areas are to be removed and the city in general would be a paradise on earth. But what about social resistance? ….