Public Perception of Environmental Change in Rapidly Growing Cities: the Case of Cairo, Egypt

Keleg, Merham and Butina Watson, Georgia and Salheen, Mohamed A. (2020) Public Perception of Environmental Change in Rapidly Growing Cities: the Case of Cairo, Egypt. SHAPING URBAN CHANGE – Livable City Regions for the 21st Century. Proceedings of REAL CORP 2020, 25th International Conference on Urban Development, Regional Planning and Information Society. pp. 677-687. ISSN 2521-3938

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Cities, especially in the global south, have expanded exponentially over the recent time. However, the pace of the required public acceptance of environmental change and the progression (invasion) into new ecosystems is not yet fully taking place at the same speed of the socio-cultural and natural identity changes and environmental awareness. Accordingly, scholars nowadays are calling for the pressing necessity of dealing with cities as socio-ecological realms, where social and ecological issues should be tackled and solved in an integrated manner. Future extensions of Cairo are promoted by the Egyptian government and the private sector promises unrealistic images of landscape futures through unsustainable landscape practices influencing the socio-cultural meanings and values of nature while disregarding the environmental context of the proposed new city extensions. Lush and vast open green spaces are being marketed on an everyday basis through billboards on main roads across the capital, TV advertisements, and newspapers. These aspirational landscape images are promoted in a desert climate, which manipulates the public expectations and masks the environmental change that is facing the new urban extensions. This paper argues that these acts affect the public attitudes and aspirations towards nature/landscapes of the future and hinder the required shift and awareness of environmental change as per the new ecosystem inputs. Environmentalism and pro- environmental behaviour require knowledge, awareness and most importantly frequent experiences of nature as advocated by scholars from different ecological and psychological disciplines. In this regard, the research paper shall investigate these propositions in the case of Cairo and its new administrative capital as an urban extension. The research deploys various methodological strands including visual data and sources to shed a light on the different daily images and messages of landscapes. The findings offer insights about the accompanying messages of landscape production dynamics as a mainstep towards understanding landscape futures and balancing between quality of life, environmentalism and economic prosperity in the new developments.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Enviornmental Change, Cairo, Public perception, Landscape messages, Visual rhetoric
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Depositing User: REAL CORP Administrator
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2021 16:52
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2021 16:52

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