Greater Cairo is growing day by day. Its population is estimated to be nearly 16 million. At the same time, the old town, a Unesco listed World Heritage site since the beginning of the 1980’s, is steadily deteriorating.
Despite the profound attachment of the people of Cairo to their heritage and the importance of these districts on an economic level, many houses fall into disrepair every year or are replaced by modern buildings. Determined to put a stop to this trend, the Governor of Cairo has taken a great interest in the rehabilitation of historical areas carried out by the Paris City Hall and by the procedures put in place to involve the population in developing neighbourhood projects.
Linked by a friendship pact since 1985, the two capitals, in 2002, entered into a technical cooperation for the urban renovation of the Sayeda Zeinab district. Located south of the old town, it is emblematic that this district has many interesting traces of the French presence, as well as an extensive Mamelouk heritage. Its evolution is characteristic of the general situation. This specific case was used to develop methods and tools adapted to the rehabilitation of these old districts that involve the inhabitants in the process.
The Apur worked in partnership with the City of Paris in this decentralised cooperation programme and helped to define the studies and urban projects for the Sayeda Zeinab quarter. Resulting from the partnership between the governorate of Cairo and the Paris City Hall (General Direction of International relations) with the support of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this bilingual publication edited by the Apur presents the projects developed within the framework of this cooperation, demonstrating how the redevelopment of roads together with the renovation of buildings can trigger off a series of operations improving daily life and revitalizing these ancient, poor neighbourhoods.