Hello from Egypt

Hello everyone I am Hazem from Egypt -Cairo , currently I am a master student at TU Berlin Campus Elgouna studing urban development .I am really interested in joining this promising project as I love this open online medium where people could share ,learn and think collectively. Some of my past experiences were that I participated in the dreamhamar tactical urbanism online workshop which was a nice participatory planning project. during the first semester in Elgouna- Egypt I took part in organizing and participating in community forums with the people of Elgouna -which is somehow a resort town with small population trying to be a town -and that was a different experience . Before that I was a volunteer in a small cbo where I took part in doing different tasks from conducting questionnaires to organizing small clothes fair and just before getting to TU i was a non degree seeking student at CILAS “Cairo Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences” which is another promising project concerned about education. PS: now I am in berlin for the summer semester but of course i have my active my connections with egypt .and i already shared the project with my egypt based network so lets hope u get some more egyptian fellows. sorry for the long post but I am excited about this project and would be happy to be contribute to this effort

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Welcome! a couple of questions:

Hazem hi, thanks for the introduction and hope our web home on Edgeryders is treating you well, as far as you had time to look through.

Listen, I’m looking at your profile but there’s no reference to any of your profiles on social media or linked in? would you mind sending a link to a work or project that represents you best, something you’ve been working on or involved in?

and can you develop a little on what are your active connections in Egypt? Any groups passionate about and driving projects for social change whose input would be valuable in this particular project we’re jump starting?

What exactly is tactical urbanism?  Sounds pretty interesting…

Thanks, looking forward to hear from you!

So, welcome!

Welcome aboard [Hazem], great to meet you! Urban planning is indeed a future-building activity, because planning decisions tend to be “sticky” and influence the city long after they are made. However, here in Europe, many of those decisions are very conservative, and foreshadow a future that looks much like the past. Do you know any future builder in Egytpt, trying to deploy urban planning in new ways? Are you yourself such a future builder? This area of urban planning is super-interesting, and there are people in this community looking into it, like [urbanohumano] in Spain.


sorry about that my online profile don’t have all the projects .

here is the link for dreamhamar where u can find more about the project and for the tactical urbanism workshop u can check my posts in that blog .

for the community forum in Elgouna there is no website till now but u can check some info about it her and her .

but for the small CBO there is only a facebook page in arabic and it became less active on facebook

and for the connections that are passionate about social change first of all there  is CILAS u can take a look on there website ,it is a very vibrant place where all the students ,fellow and guests are very active and involved in different projects and all of them are from different backgrounds. The project CILAS itself is somehow revolting against institutional education .

then there is MEGAWRA .which is an architectural hub very active place also but mainly for young architects and planners.

the above 2 I have strong connection with but there is also a lot of other places like coworking space and other NGOs that could be involved

by the way my email gets your notifications in junk mail .


totally agree with you that planning decisions tend to be sticky and  influence the city for a long time also it is hard to "heal " some of the consequences of it , however this top down planning process is somehow shifting to a more bottom up collaborative process .anyway hopefully in the near future the way of planning should change.

for Egypt the situation is very interesting there is the absolute top down planning from the government (it doesn’t matter before or after the “revolution”)  which is done in a very" non transparent way " by some planners of course :). but there is a lot of urban interventions even big scale intervention like an exit from the ring road :slight_smile: and there is also a lot of informal settlements where there is a strong and somehow connected community and sometimes stick together against plans of relocation.

anyway its a very interesting mess and there are some urbanists and architects who are working in very interesting projects with the people and try to coordinate the “development process” like al athar lana

there is also some interesting researchs about cairo like cairofrombelow where I am a volunteer translator

There was even a constitution proposal for urban rights made by some researchers .

actually i think urbanohumano was a partner in Ecosistema Urbano which was responsible for the dreamhamar project . :slight_smile:


Wait a minute… are you saying people just went out with shovels and built an unplanned exit from a ring road? I really want to know this story! Anyway, what you say about informal settlements is really interesting. Everyone thinks shantytowns and slums are a critical piece of the future and a nexus of innovation à la Jane Jacobs. I am sure STF would really appreciate a thoughtful blog post about what is happening in informal settlements in Egypt.

And yes, I think both [urbanohumano] and [immaginoteca] were involved in DreamHamar. :slight_smile:

On a different note, here is how you tag people in Edgeryders: [USERNAME(CASE_SENSITIVE)]. For example [ Hazem ] with no spaces between “[”, “Hazem” and “]” will risolve in [Hazem] and send you a notification (you have been mentioned!). More instructions on the User manual.

yes an unplanned exit from the ring road

[Alberto] yes they really did it . it was constructed professionally with the help of a CBO and engineers from the neighberhood. I think u can find more info about in this publication under case studies : road side development .

I am humbled

So no, they did not make one informal ring road exit – they made four. It’s on page 54-56 of the publication you linked – thanks, by the way, it’s a great catch. On page 62 there is a precious witness: one of the al-Mu’tamidiya community leaders points out that the community had been wanting to build a ramp for vehicles to access the ring road for a long time, and when the security apparatus collapsed following the revolution they had their chance. “The community meticulously documented the process of construction and presented it in a dramatic video”… where do I find that video?

Talk about the wiki city! These guys are way more edgy and innovative than we are. I can’t wait to find out more about them.

other spaces in cairo

back to general talking about the project (not only urban situation :D)

there are alot of hacker spaces in cairo and an active growing community of enterpreneurs ,here are some other places that could colaborat or host the project

fablab eg - elmaqar an active coworking space where lots of entrepreneurs meet - mesaha another coworking space which host different events.

some spaces have a very broad network and others have specific target groups (electronics - DIY - …etc )

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Another great catch

Thanks again, [Hazem], we are extremely interested in reaching out to the hacker scene. A good chance is the Spot The Future workshop to be held in Cairo in a few weeks. [gazbee sorour] is scouting locations and has suggested some possibilities here. Would you be up for leaving her a comment giving us our opinion, and maybe suggesting the spaces you mention above as an alternative?

there is more :smiley: - searching for the video

yes [Alberto] it is amazing how they did that .and Cluster was the lab who made this reasarch and contributed to other publication as well, u can check their website

the video was uploaded on a small facebook page for al-Mu’tamidiya community it’s in arabic ofcourse I will search for it now hope I can find it .

and reading [gazbee sourour]s post will leave my comment their soon

the video

u can find the video here

one of the signs in the video states " on the cost of the honorable men of al-mu’tamidiya --under the supervision of "al-mu’tamidiya baladna (our country) " committee.

what was ironic that they actually invited the local authorities to come and open this road in the video in order to add some legitimacy or something (that was right after the revolution and local authorities had almost no real powers)

anyway when we think about it these examples is what we knew about as planners or researchers but surely there are a lot of other interventions that were not mapped

Whoa :slight_smile:

It’s really really good. Thank you so much [Hazem]!

local and remote participation…A proposal

Hazem, would you be interested in writing one of the paid articles? Or even collaborating with a tandem based in Egypt to drive the Egyptian leg of the project? We need someone to be based in Egypt and have a large local network to be able to do this, but you obviously know a lot about interesting initiatives. I have been listening in on the various conversations apply for the online community builder positions and have written this post:  we are trying to do and how we want to go about doing it.

Have a look and see what you think?

what I can do and some questions


her is what I can do to contribute in this project .

I can write an article mapping the local initiatives and underground movments that are related to the 8 focus areas for egypt mentioned in the mission briefs ( are these briefs finished or not and if not how can I contribute to them ?) I might have nothing in the “uncontrolled population growth” and a little on “discrimination by gender and religion” .  so the article wouldn’t address all topics but could cover alot of different initiatives in different fields which I didn’t mention above as I am already interested in connectiong these dots together .

but by the end of the article there should be a call for action , do u mean for the tour and for adding stories and engaging in this platform only ? or for the physical workshops that would happen in the tour ?( and if so what would be the title of these and when /how would u decide ?)

and for the tour what I can do from here “Berlin” is to coordinate with hosts like CILAS ,MEGWARA and FABLAB  because I have direct contact with them and  I can work with someone from cairo to coordinate with . (or try to coordinate with other potential places )

If the physical job for the community builder is to coordinate the workshops only and then everything is on the online platform ? I can go back to Egypt for a week to make the call for the workshops in local hubs and organize the rest with a tandem based in cairo   ( If I got paid for the job as I am still looking for scholarship for accomodation in berlin :smiley: if not I am can still help with connecting the community builder with contacts to organize everything )

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OR “about the article”

or should the article be pointing out 2 initiatives and make the call for others to share their story , then collecting these stories together afterwards

Separate mission briefs and paid articles

So we are looking for two separate but related entries

  1. Articles: Solution Centric Essays (I write more about this below)
  2. Online community building: I write about this in a separate comment so as not to confuse things.

Solution-centric essays…

that personalise the perspective and encourages us to discuss our own experiences. The aim is to help one another build a deeper understanding of the issues at hand at a granuar level. Why did this person or group of people choose to take this approach? How did they go about realising the initiative? What did they/you learn from it? What does it tell us about how we do things in our own lives and environments?

The approach we want to take is to discover and get to know creative and inspiring initiatives and then together through discussion here on the platform figure out what they tell us about one or more of the 8 focus areas.  Perhaps an article comparing two different approaches? The road-hacking above and another initiative?

The ending: just a call for people to share their thoughts and experiences in a comment to the essay (they need to be signed in to post), or as a new post. A number of people will be offered a place at the workshop in Cairo in April 25-26 [link coming soon], after which some will be selected for paid travel slots to present at an International Conference in Tblisi [link coming soon]

I would ask for this essay in two versions: English and Arabic for a renumeration of 200 USD. Idealy to be produced within the next week.


Online Community Building for Edgeryders

1.The contractual details: For various reasons we need someone who is based in Egypt to be accountable for results, ie. to be the person we contract. We have 1200USD budget for the work and can only hire one person to do it. But if you can collaborate with someone on location (can be one of the people who applied in this group, can be someone else from your personal networks) and agree on a fair arrangement that works for you I am open to well thought through proposals. But this has to be finalised within the next day or two.

2. The actual work:

Basically it’s engaging people doing interesting work in Egypt outside the mainsteam to sign up on edgeryders.eu, submit their own solutions oriented stories, and share their own experiences as comments and posts on the stories submitted by others. In Egypt and in different parts of the world (the community consists of almost 2000 individuals in 40+ countries). The idea is to discover one another’s approaches, and get a deeper, shared understanding around the different themes. And then to we get collaborating on shared solutions, or helping one another develop/strengthen/ scale existing projects, during the physical workshops. Without the online interaction it is difficult to collaborate, p2p, with people all over the planet. Or even the person around the corner who it is difficult to interact with because of invisible barriers.

The other part of the work is preparing all the communications materials in Arabic and use social media to draw people into edgeryders.eu. This includes producing mission briefs: engaging calls for submissions of more solution centric essays, and commenting the ones that already are online from an Egyptian perspective. It also involves a lot of work reaching out to people and networks and draw them into signing up on edgeryders.eu and  participating in the conversation on the platform. T

Why do we keep online discussion in the Edgeryders platform?

We use social media to spread the word about the initiative, highlight great people and projects discovered in Spot the Future and share news. However we use those channels only to share links back to places on the edgeryders platform. Why?

  • Edgeryders is designed to support and foster solutions oriented discussion, knowledge sharing and collaboration. The environment is designed by and for people who want to get things done together with other. Not discuss what others should or could do.
  • there is a critical mass of great people and initiatives already here to connect with
  • good environemnt to get to know one anothers projects and challenges before workshop so we make effective use of our time together
  • allows people to participate in project remotely
  • to document workshop results and continue exchange/collaborations after
  • does not exclude people who don't use FB or Twitter for different reasons
  • platform is free, open source, and evolved by its community members needs.
  • content here doesn't disappear and you own your own data.
  • beyond the aims of any given project we are all trying to help one another create paid work opportunities that are aligned with community members interests and talents

my updates

ok for the article am working on it now . will try to upload an english version in a couple of days in order for other members to comment and add or give feedback to adjust the final version

and for the community builder am coordinating with a partner in cairo and will give u an update tomorrow

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read you soon.