Residents Lead: User-Controlled Housing Practices and Attitudes in Poor Communities in Cairo, Egypt

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Abstract: It is argued that low-income public housing in Cairo has witnessed shortcomings in responding to its inhabitants’ needs. The expert-based, top-down approach in housing processes, widely adopted in most developing countries, including Egypt, is argued to be the main reason for these shortcomings. On the other hand, the limited experimental institutionalized participatory experiences in Cairo, mainly in the form of self-help schemes, were also incapable of meeting many of their goals. As an alternative participatory approach, the research discussed the experiences and approaches of ‘user-controlled housing’ processes in which it was envisaged that people would build dwellings of types and qualities corresponding to their own social codes and cultural behaviour. A theoretical model for the main concepts of this proposed approach was developed. To test this model, field investigations about the practices and attitudes of the low-income residents in Cairo relevant to the user-controlled housing processes were conducted and thus a new amended theoretical model has been initiated and recommended in terms of proposed low-income housing policies in Cairo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-208
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Planning Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 3 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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