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Landschaftsarchitektur und Entwerfen

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Winter 2018/19

CAIRO Mega - Urban Landscape

There can be no doubt that Cairo is a true Megacity. More than 20 million people call its metropolitan area their home. Cairo is the capital of Egypt, the largest urban settlement in Africa, as well as the largest one in the Middle East and the Arab world. The traditional nickname of this fast growing urban Moloch today features a euphemistic aspect—but it is still beautiful: Mother of the World. Not only seen through the eyes of a landscape architect does Egypt represent a mere extreme. 95% of the land area of Egypt are desert. Only where the River Nile renders farming possible, which is on 3,8% of the land area, Egypt‘s population of 95 million people hitherto built, and continues to build their settlements. Every year the population grows of about 2%, which makes the fertile land increasingly contested. The Nile is, in the truest sense of the word, the lifeline of the Egyptian society. The river is the backbone of Egypt’s industrial and agricultural sector, and, at the same time, the primary source of drinking water for the entire population.

Our central project task and key issue will be to dedicate research and design efforts to potential options of Cairo‘s city growth—without consuming any additional agricultural land. The problem is, that continuing to build on farmland is like biting the hand that feeds one. That is why our project work will focus on future visions for the growing city of Cairo—subject to a strict avoidance of any further farmland conversion. Due to the water scarcity, reclamation of new farmland or forest land in the desert, as well as the sufficient irrigation of existent farmland in the delta around Cairo, are only possible by use of treated, as well as untreated sewage water. There is also a law in Egypt that stipulates the use of treated, as well as untreated sewage water, before discharging it into canals or rivers. Hence we will likewise look into the cycle of water, which is a vital factor in a desert environment.


The project starts with a non-compulsory fieldtrip to Cairo at the beginning of October, followed by regular studio sessions in Hannover. Our MLA project is embedded into a global research project titled ‚Changing our Global Infrastructure: An International Geodesign Collaboration‘ (Carl Steinitz et. al., 2018), bringing together teams led by senior colleagues from over 90 universities around the world, to share their Geodesign work as applied in their projects. All design teams work on one critical challenge: „How do we organize and conduct the very beginning and strategic stages of designing for longer-term changes in large, multi-system, multi-client and contentious contexts?“ (Steinitz, 2018). In a Geodesign workshop in November, enriched by the empirical knowledge gained during the Cairo fieldwork, we will collectively excogitate Cairo‘s potential future city growth pattern. In our MLA project we will conduct research-by-design work on landscape urbanistic visions for a megacity that cannot survive without its original landscape. Cairo is not only a very large city, it is concurrently a Mega—Urban Landscape.  

Supervision: Dr. Jörg Rekittke
Start: Oktober 25, 2018 01:30 PM, Project Studio (Container), HH-Str. 2