[Book Review] Egypt's housing crisis : the shaping of urban space

Salama, Ashraf M. (2021) [Book Review] Egypt's housing crisis : the shaping of urban space. [Review]

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Abstract

Book review of Egypt's Housing Crises: The Shaping of Urban Space by Yahia Shawkat. The American University in Cairo (AUC) Press, ISBN 9789774169571. Approaching a century of crises, housing in Egypt has been, and continues to be, produced and reproduced within a very complex milieu which can be portrayed by an obsession with top-down approaches while encompassing a multitude of intersecting economic, social, and political factors. Over the past four decades, this has been coupled with a deteriorating urban infrastructure, and in tandem, the rapid urban growth and the surge in the development of new communities, satellite cities, and the associated policies that support these endeavours. While these factors continue to agglomerate and impact the mainstream urban poor and lower income groups, recent efforts of the public sector attempt to address these complexities, but strikingly aspire to reshape the production of housing with a desire to mimic hyper-capitalist approaches adopted in some of the neighbouring affluent countries. In essence, this manifests to accommodate the growing population, the emerging socio-economic trends, and the accompanying incipient lifestyles of specific higher-income segments of the Egyptian society. In this book, Yahia Shawkat, a housing and urban policy researcher, known of his interest and advocacy for spatial justice and fair housing, constructs a convincing, well-articulated argument on the need for serious reform. Egypt's Housing Crises: The Shaping of Urban Space offers a comprehensive analysis and a series of vigorous discussions, characterised by an impartial candidness, on the evolutionary nature of crises and the contemporary condition of housing in Egypt.