A Classification of Informal Settlements in Cairo, Egypt

Ziedabozied, Eman (2021) A Classification of Informal Settlements in Cairo, Egypt. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

Text (Doctoral thesis)
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Informal settlements are a phenomenon that exists worldwide, housing over one billion people. While they provide housing for the urban poor, they can have negative effects and contribute to the spatial fragmentation of the city. The binary informal/planned classification often does not capture the complexity of the phenomenon and can negatively affect how urban interventions are carried out. In Cairo, further classification systems have been developed, as informal settlements make up a large part of the city's urban fabric and house over one quarter of the urban population. However, the physical urban characteristics of these classifications have not been meaningfully quantified, and the classification remains based on social parameters such as tenure and socio-economic status. A refined classification system based on existing physical characteristics can help inform urban interventions that are tailored to the type of informal settlement, which can potentially be more successful in addressing the negative effects of informality.

Methodology literature suggests that informal settlements have implicit rules that direct urban growth and influence the resultant urban fabric. These rules can be uncovered by studying the informal fabric quantitatively. This thesis takes a mixed method approach to provide a holistic view of informal settlements. Social studies are used to contextualise the phenomenon of informality and provide basis for the quantitative analysis. Urban morphology studies, space syntax analysis and statistical analysis are used to describe the phenomenon quantitatively and categorise blocks and streets. These methods are used to find the implicit rules of growth and unique spatial structures to inform classification.

Quantitative study of the urban blocks and street network indicate that there are some features in urban blocks and open space configurations that are more common to informal settlements, and more importantly, some street network configurations conducive to community living seem to be unique to informal settlements and do not exist in planned settlements. These results also indicate that pre-existing land subdivision and topography is the main driver of the resultant urban form rather than social processes. The refined classification framework results in the identification of four main types of urban fabric: infill, aggregate, mixed and planned.

This research also presents several avenues for urban intervention that builds upon existing approaches. Knowing which parts of the street network and urban fabric are necessary to support the community and have emerged due to their needs can be used to inform urban intervention and create more nuanced intervention methods

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Urban Morphology, Space Syntax, Cluster Analysis and Descriptive Statistics, Urban Design, Built Environment
Subjects: H900 Others in Engineering
K200 Building
K300 Landscape Design
K900 Others in Architecture, Building and Planning
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Architecture and Built Environment
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2021 11:03
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2021 11:15
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/47459

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