A critical voice on architecture and urbanism: contemporary Cairo demystified

Ashraf M Salama

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Cairo, an amalgam of Arab, Western, and African influences on the north coast of the African continent, is the largest of four African 'mega cities.' Unlike those other, relatively young, cities the history of Cairo can be traced back to before the seventh century. All the African urban typologies sketched by Ambrose Adebayo elsewhere in this issue can be found in Cairo. This rich history affords Cairo many opportunities for development (in tourism for example), but also presents it with specific problems. Ashraf Salama recounts Cairo's long and complex genesis and its explosive growth around the 1970s when 7 million people arrived in the space in the space of just 20 years, with all consequences that entailed for infrastructure, housing, and pollution. Salama takes a critical look at various architectural and urbanist notions about urban development and concludes with a few frank recommendations directed at his fellow architects.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Specialist publicationARCHIS
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2002


  • Cairo
  • post-modernism
  • modernism
  • professional practice
  • contemporary architecture


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