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Urban renewal in the al-Darb al-Ahmar District of the Cairo - Essay Example

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The al-Darb Al-Ahmar (2005) is an area in Cairo that is historical in nature. The area has been around since at least the medieval times, as the walls of the city of Fatimid were expanded during this time to encompass the area…
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Urban renewal in the al-Darb al-Ahmar District of the Cairo
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Download file to see previous pages However, this area is ripe for revitalization, as the residences of the area are committed to living there, and are willing to commit time and resources to make it happen. This paper will describe the history of the al-Darb Al-Ahmar area, as well as detail the reasons why it is ripe for revitalization, and the steps that are being taken to accomplish this. Brief Historical Analysis The history of al-Darb Al-Ahmar, according to Rashidi (2005), was that it was a settlement that was located just outside the walled city of Fatimid, which was the palace-city inside the city of Cairo, Egypt.
The neighborhood was originally a cemetery, and, after the exodus of the population within the walled city after periods of drought and famine in the 11th Century, has brought people outside the walls of the precinct. This expanded the walls of the Fatimid to encompass other urban developed areas, and the al-Darb Al-Ahmar became one of the first areas that were a part of this urban expansion. The Citadel, within the al-Darb Al-Ahmar area, became the seat of power, which helped shape the urban development of the area, according to Rashidi (2005). The eastern city wall, which extended past the Citadel, formed the outer edge of the al-Darb Al-Ahmar, and the al-Darb Al-Ahmar area became an important area for the functioning of the city of Cairo. Because the Citadel remained the seat of power, the al-Darb area became a prestigious area, and became the centre of the economic and political life during the Mamluk period (Rashidi, 2005). The city is very historical, as many of the buildings which are institutional in nature have been present since the medieval era. The residential buildings, however, from that era have long since been torn down to make way for palaces and mosques. The institutional buildings have been supported by endowments, especially the religious buildings, and these buildings still stand. Religious buildings are not the only institutional buildings that have remained, as a hospital built around 1420, which is in the Citadel area, still remains, through endowments by the civic court institutions (Rashidi, 2005). In the modern day, there have been mixed attempts to preserve the area of the al-Darb, according to Rashidi (2005). The historic buildings have been preserved by the Comite de Conservation des Monuments de l’Art Arabe, which is an organization that has been dedicated to preserving the historical monuments of the area. Specifically, these historical monuments were being encroached by the derelict properties that surrounded these monuments. However, the plan to get rid of these encroachments, so that the monuments were free-standing went too far, according to Rashidi (2005), in that all of these buildings were demolished, which damaged the urban fabric. Moreover, the planners, through the years, although well-intentioned, also helped to undermine the urban area, as they did not take into account that entire areas of the neighborhood should be considered to be historic. This resulted in such actions as widening the streets, without regard to social and urban consequences of doing so, and this made the urban fabric of the al-Darb Al-Ahmar decay. The al-Darb Al-Ahmar Project The al-Darb Al-Ahmar project came about, according to The Aga Khan Trust for Culture (2005), because the neighborhood was decaying. The refuse was piling up in alleyways, and landlords did not care for their properties. Yet, the neighborhood is one of the most ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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