A Smart “Cairo” in the Making: A Strategic Approach towards a Better Quality of Life

Safey Eldeen, Heba (2014) A Smart “Cairo” in the Making: A Strategic Approach towards a Better Quality of Life. REAL CORP 2014 – PLAN IT SMART! Clever Solutions for Smart Cities. Proceedings of 19th International Conference on Urban Planning, Regional Development and Information Society. pp. 1063-1070.

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Smart Cities is a term used to describe a development based on information and communication technologies. ‘A Smart Community is a community that has made a conscious effort to use information technology to transform life and work within its region in significant and fundamental, rather than incremental ways. In the last two decades, the Smart Cities movement, spearheaded by software and hardware companies has injected advanced technology into the mix. European, Far Eastern and American initiatives are witnessed to implant infrastructures and develop communities that cope with and verify the concept. It is believed that “Smart city” as a concept has been introduced as a strategic method to encompass modern urban production factors in a common framework and to highlight the growing importance of Information and Communication Technologies, social and environmental capital in profiling the competitiveness of cities. The significance of these two later assets - social and environmental capital - itself goes a long way to distinguish smart cities from their more technology-laden counterparts, drawing a clear line between them and what goes under the name of either digital or intelligent cities. In Egypt, it seems almost impossible to adopt such a concept due to the multi-layered and multifaceted urban and sociocultural problems altogether. A closer look at our capital Cairo and its over-population, over-densification, deteriorated urbanism and pollution brings a doubt about the possibility that it can ever be listed as a “smart city”. The answer was an attempt to create independent self-sufficient cities and compounds as a prologue to embedding smart infrastructure and to develop smart social and environmental communities. For that, several fully-fledged communities, creating comprehensive integrated residential schemes within the New Cairo plan were launched. One of those was El-Rehab city, covering an area of 10 million m2 to accommodate 200,000 residents. The city has its own transportation system and infra structures, as well as its own facilities including educational, medical, commercial, sports club, recreational and maintenance facilities. After its success, “Madinaty” was ten times a larger city. With international standards, intended to act as a modern extension to New Cairo. Pivoted on the existence of educational institutions, the city includes hospitals, business centers, hotels, sports and social clubs, household services, and entertainment facilities, which meet the day-to-day needs of its inhabitants. The city has several innovative and unique services on its fringes, which caters to the needs of nearby towns and even to the needs of the inhabitants of Greater Cairo. These services include: water sports areas, shopping centers, and varied educational institutions. Can those cities be considered „smart“? Are they really planned smart? What features of smartness do they posses? How do their residents perceive them? Can they put Cairo on the list of smart cities by hook or by crook? Do they pave the way ahead of planning smart cities in Egypt? What, then are the criteria of Egyptian smart cities to be? The paper at hand aims at answering those questions. It examines the concept within the Egyptian context with the aim of debating its validity and the liability of its application of its underlying implications in the developing countries. The objective is to propose local vision of smart cities in Egypt. The methodology is based on reviewing the concept of smart city and its various applications. Then an evaluation of the experiment of “Madinaty” city will be undertaken in lights of the elected dominant principles of the concept. It is expected that the discussion of the findings will set new norms on how to “plan it smart” in Egypt.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cairo New Cities, Quality of Life, Smart Cities, Smart Planning Measures, Local Vision
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Depositing User: REAL CORP Administrator
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2016 12:54
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2016 12:54
URI: http://repository.corp.at/id/eprint/317

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