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Urban Challenge Meets Hidden Potentials Sustainable Development of El-Max Fishermen Village in Alexandria, Egypt


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Slum upgrading programs in Egypt focus mainly on the provision of essential services. Social and environmental needs are neglected resulting in critical issues. A community-driven approach is proposed to unfold the potential of slums by giving control of decisions and resources to the community. The research examines ‘El-Max’ Fishermen Village based on its potential due to its unique urban pattern and characteristics. It argues the ability of an informal settlement to reach sustainability goals through a community driven approach. It sets out a framework for urban development, emphasising social sustainability built on sound governance and good urban management.
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7thAsia-Pacific International Conference on Environment-Behaviour Studies,
St Leonard Hall, Edinburgh University, United Kingdom, 27-30 July 2016
© 2016 The Authors. Published by e-International Publishing House, Ltd., UK
Peerreview under responsibility of AMER (Association of Malaysian Environment-Behaviour Researchers), ABRA (Association of Behavioural Researchers on
Asians) and cE-Bs (Centre for Environment-Behaviour Studies, Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia.
Urban Challenge Meets Hidden Potentials
Sustainable Development of El-Max Fishermen Village in Alexandria, Egypt
Dina Mamdouh Nassar 1
, Marwa Kamel El-Sayed 2*
1 Architectural Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, Alexandria University, Abu Qir St., Ibrahimiya, Alexandria 11432, Egypt
2 Architectural Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, Pharos University in Alexandria, El-Mahmoudiya Canal St., Smouha, Alexandria 21523, Egypt
Slum upgrading programs in Egypt focus mainly on the provision of essential services. Social and environmental needs are neglected resulting
in critical issues. A community-driven approach is proposed to unfold the potential of slums by giving control of decisions and resources to the
The research examines El-Max Fishermen Village based on its potential due to its unique urban pattern and characteristics. It argues the
ability of an informal settlement to reach sustainability goals through a community driven approach. It sets out a framework for urban
development, emphasising social sustainability built on sound governance and good urban management.
© 2016 The Authors. Published by e-International Publishing House, Ltd., UK
Peerreview under responsibility of AMER (Association of Malaysian Environment-Behaviour Researchers), ABRA (Association of Behavioural Researchers on
Asians) and cE-Bs (Centre for Environment-Behaviour Studies, Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, and Malaysia.
Keywords: Slum Upgrading; Sustainable Urban Development; Community-Driven Development (CDD); Urban Management.
1. Introduction
Alexandria is the largest Mediterranean city in Egypt. More than three thousand years ago, a small fishing village called
Rhacotis originated by the southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It is approximately at the same location of Alexandria’s
city centre. Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) picked this spot to become the new capital of the world. His city flourished
throughout the Potomac and Roman eras. Layers of history accumulated and built up its vast cultural identity. Despite
Alexandria’s ancient history and its modern worries, local Alexandrians, till this day consider the sea a primary component in their
lives. A notorious Egyptian once stated; Alexandrians are like fish, when taken away from the water, they die. The city has
gravely developed throughout the years; successive historical epochs have come and gone. Remarkably, Alexandrians never
lived far from the sea. Fishing was the job of the majority; their lives depended on the gifts of the sea. They firmly believe in
keeping their line of work within the family. Even nowadays, many of them hold high college degrees; yet their career never
*Dina Mamdouh Nassar Tel.: +20100-652-0526 - E-mail address:
Dina Mamdouh Nassar, Marwa Kamel El-Sayed / EBPJ 7th AicE-Bs2016Edinburgh, UK, 27-30 July 2016 2
Alexandria has three primary fishermen communities. The oldest being the fishermen of Bahari, located near the city centre,
followed by the Abu Qir fishermen on the East side, while the fishermen of El-Max lie on the west side. This situation came as a
result of the city’s long extended shoreline.
The research focuses on El-Max Fishermen Village; addressing their problems and exposing their hidden potentials. Despite
their small population, El-Max fishermen’s strong sense of community has been a mark of unique character in the midst of rough
circumstances. They live in constant fear of eviction and environmental risks. Nevertheless, their distinct location deems them
worthy of research as a case study of informal settlements in Egypt.
2. Methodology and Aim of Work
The paper addresses the problematic issue of slum upgrade. The goal is to state and evaluate the implications of ‘El-Max’
case study within the framework of urban development. To promote its spatial regeneration, social and economic sustainability;
the research will analyse the area’s morphology, deterioration, actions of municipal and state authorities. It also suggests an
urban upgrade project based on a community-driven urban development program; operating on the principles of transparency,
participation, local empowerment, greater downward accountability, and enhanced local capacity.
The proposed project aims to transform the negative image of the hazardous industrial area of El-Max through a community-
driven urban development approach.
The research is structured into three main sections. Section one describes the informal settlements in Egypt and clarifies the
recent governmental approach to solving this issue through classification according to degrees of risk and scale of intervention.
Section two presents the situation of informal settlements in Alexandria, focusing on the case study of El-Max Fishermen
Village; discussing its problems and potentials. Section three proposes recommendations and an urban upgrade program for El-
Max Fishermen Village. It also reviews the impact of institutional decisions and method of operation on the future social and
economic stability of the locals.
3. The Morphology of Informal Settlements in Egypt
After the end of World War II, The Egyptian government’s frequent policy changes faced challenges with the housing sector,
which resulted in rural-to-urban migration in search of job opportunities and better standards of living. Housing problems have
increasingly gained public exposure through both media coverage and scholarly debates. Previous research discussed how to
reach the Millennium Development Goal of significantly improving the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020 by
proposing financial development programs and audits of planning regulations that can greatly improve living conditions within
slum communities (Payne, 2005) (Bruce Ferguson, 2003). Meanwhile, members of informal settlements are facing problems;
going through an on-going cycle of despair between disregard and becoming an issue of public opinion, to once more negligence
and evacuation threats.
Social and public housing projects in the 1950s and 1960s temporarily fulfilled the needs of the growing new urban society.
Then, a general decline in the public housing sector was faced with the steady growth of national cooperative housing to cater
the needs of the middle class. The policy of open economy in the 1980s led to a decrease in housing programs in general.
Inflation in prices of building material restrained the government’s ability to continue any housing programs in cities, thus opening
the doors to the phenomena of private real estate investment. This triggered informal housing problems in Alexandria as a direct
response to fulfil the needs of lower and middle-class sectors. The government started continuing its housing programs in “New
Cities”, but did not react to the rapid urbanisation happening in cities like Cairo and Alexandria.
Considering the magnitude and scale of the housing deficit and the lack of concerted action or inadequate response of
governmental authorities, there is no doubt of the role that informal housing plays in sheltering the millions of low-incomefamilies.
Successive generation of governments have recognised this and some approaches have been adopted in finding a solution to
the dilemma. There are two types of approaches that the government takes in dealing with informal areas: preventative
approaches that are meant to limit informal growth and interventionist approaches in which the government either improves or
removes informal areas.
In general informal settlements in Egypt are called “slums”. Article 78 of the 2014 Egyptian Constitution recognises
‘ashwai’at’ (The literal translation of which is random or unplanned areas) and requires the government to take steps to improve
Dina Mamdouh Nassar, Marwa Kamel El-Sayed / EBPJ 7th AicE-Bs2016Edinburgh, UK, 27-30 July 2016 3
them. It refers to informal areas suffering from problems of accessibility, narrow streets, the absence of vacant land and open
spaces, very high residential densities, and insufficient infrastructure and services ((GOPP), 2012). It takes one of the following
forms; one form is squatting on the publicly owned land. This situation occurs on desert lands or public benefit areas in or around
the cities. The other form is violating building regulations by offending land use regulations. This situation mainly occurs on
privately owned agricultural lands or violating heights regulations inside the cities.
4. The Informal Settlement Development Facility (ISDF)
In 2008, Presidential Decree No. 305 issued the establishment of the ISDF (ISDF, 2012). It constitutes a funding facility that
aims to develop and limit urban slums, as well as, provide urban planning strategies and necessary infrastructure. This proceeds
in coordination with concerned ministries and local public administrations, which in return provide the required information,
expertise, and necessary aid.
The ISDF funds the six following programs:
Development of life-threatening areas
Development of inappropriate housing areas on state-owned property
Development of inappropriate housing areas of Central Authorities property
Development of inappropriate housing areas on privately owned property
Development of areas of Public Health Threat
Development of illegal housing areas
The ISDA re-defined informal settlements in Egypt into two categories, to resolve their problems. This classification divided
them into unsafe areas and unplanned areas. According to (Khalifa, 2011); Unsafe areas are characterised by being subject to
life threat, or having inappropriate housing, or exposed to health threat or tenure risks, while unplanned areas are principally
characterised by its noncompliance to planning and building laws and regulations.
The informal settlements defined as unsafe are classified into four grades, according to the severity of their situation, thus
immediate intervention, descending from the most to least, as following; areas that threaten life, areas of unsuitable shelter
conditions, areas exposed to health risks and areas of instability due to insecurity of tenures ((GOPP), 2012).
The case of El-Max Fishermen Village is considered according to the local slum administration authority; a (Grade Two).
This means that the area is life-threatening because it’s a floodplain area and with unsuitable shelter conditions. The buildings
are made of makeshift materials, the sites unsuitable for building, and structures are ruined and unsafe. Therefore , the area is
considered under risk. Dwellings must be relocated to safer provinces as a radical solution to ensure the protection and
livelihoods of the citizens; they are subject to immediate transfer to state-owned housing units. Alternatives include financial
compensation, the use of existing or temporary housing units with the provision of land for self-building of new ones, or granting
rent money for a limited period until the availability of newly constructed accommodation.
5. Discussion and Analysis
5.1 Identifying Informal Settlements in Alexandria
Alexandria has two cities under its jurisdiction forming a metropolis; with an urban lifestyle primarily attracting rural or
Bedouin citizens. This situation places a remarkable strain on housing supply in its six districts. Informal settlements appeared as
a result of different inconvenient policies. They started as demand for affordable housing that the government couldn’t supply as
the population was increasing rapidly. According to Alexandria SUP 2032 ((GOPP), 2012); the gap between supply and demand
in the housing sector resulted in unplanned developments expanded in response to the general shortage of affordable urban
residential building land and suitable low-cost rental housing in cities. Like any other place in Egypt, unplanned areas have
fulfilled the needs of lower and lower-middle income residents. Alexandria was and remains a magnet city to surrounding rural
5.2 Current Situation of El-Max Fishermen Village
Dina Mamdouh Nassar, Marwa Kamel El-Sayed / EBPJ 7th AicE-Bs2016Edinburgh, UK, 27-30 July 2016 4
The following discussion is a result of studies carried out by the authors in the period from September 2013 to March 2014
(Nassar, Naguib, ElFakharany, & Kamel, 2014) on El-Max Fishermen Village to list the problems and explore the potentials of
development. The work also includes an update of the situation according to recent governmental action.
It will address in depth all physical, social and economic matters while demonstrate previous local efforts to upgrade the
area. It will help support a community driven upgrade approach that will sustain the livelihood of the locals, thus reflecting
positively on the city of Alexandria. While conducting the analyses, authors discovered hidden potentials that can creatively add
attainments to locals and the city. The research will also summarise the findings in the suggested community-driven development
upgrade program.
5.2.1 Location, Size, and Statistics
El-Max fishermen village shown in Fig.(1), is a small fishing
community situated along an agricultural drain canal; called ‘El-
Khanda’a’, which makes its way through a small hill down to the
Mediterranean Sea. It is located in El-Amriya District, west of
Alexandria city. Its unique characteristics and environment inspired
many to call it the “Egyptian Venice”. It is located at the meeting
point of the Nile’s fresh water and the salinity of the sea. Small
fishermen houses were built on the two banks of the canal at its tail
end before it reaches the sea. They are characterised as simple
shelters built mainly by brick from construction site remnants. They
form levels on the hill stretching along one and a half kilometres of
the canal. Fishing boats lie by the houses ready for going out into the
sea and coming back with the everyday living. Unlike the fishermen
of Bahari or Abu Qir; who have larger boats that could stay up to 4-
6 days in the sea, El-Max fishermen rely on their small boats called
the ‘Flouka’. Approximately 15,000 inhabit El-Max area, with about
3,000 fishermen living there for more than 30 years. They face mass
displacement, despite the fact that they are responsible for 35% of
the fish production in Alexandria.
5.2.2 Environmental, Social and Economic Risks
El-Max Fishermen Village is situated north of an industrial
zone, surrounded by petroleum companies which dispose of their
industrial and chemical waste in the canal as shown in Fig. (2). Laws
governing the environment demands to frequently change filters to
avoid pollution issues. Furthermore, the Marriott Lake; which
stretches south along Alexandria city borders, is suffering from
pollution as a result of chemical and agricultural waste from
Fig. (1) View of El-Max Fishermen Village
Source: Authors
Fig. (2) Waste Disposal causing Canal Pollution
Source: Authors
Fig. (3) Two Satellite Images of El-Max, area highlighted in yellow and the Fishermen Village highlighted in red
Source: Authors
Mediterranean Sea
Marriott Lake
El-Max Fishermen Village
Industrial Areas
Dina Mamdouh Nassar, Marwa Kamel El-Sayed / EBPJ 7th AicE-Bs2016Edinburgh, UK, 27-30 July 2016 5
surrounding companies. Nevertheless, big parts of the lake were subject to filling (reclaimed land), thus dramatically affecting its
Eco-system. At present, the lake disposes the contaminated water into the Mediterranean Sea through two agricultural drainage
canals; one of which is El-Max El-Khanda’a’ canal. Pollution caused a decline in the canal’s fish habitats, which as a result,
forced fishermen to sail out into the open sea to earn a living in extreme conditions. The prevailing wind direction in Alexandria is
North to North West; therefore, the nearby industries do not pose any air pollution threats to the area. The satellite images in Fig.
(3) showing the industrial area is south of El-Max.
On one hand, this run down area suffer low education, low sanitary awareness, poverty and multiplying problems, still possesses
what makes it a charming spot; namely its nature and simplicity. On the other hand, highly polluted water continues threatening
their health, livelihood, and local economy.
Moreover, their only way out from the canal into the sea is beneath the vehicular bridge. Water current and speed accelerate s at
that point, causing a number of drowning incidents. The water level continues to rise and travelling that way has been named the
“Death Path”. In addition, net piles were placed beneath the bridge forming a gate that prevents fishermen from going out into
the sea without authorised permits. This was a way for the coastal guards to regulate the fishermen’s movement according to a
given schedule for entering and exiting the sea, to prevent smuggling and illegal immigration to and from Europe, especially after
the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. However, the net piles led to a rise in the water level under the bridge and increasing threats of
5.2.3 The Housing Situation
By observation of the nature of the place and its physical structure, the characteristics can be deduced. They are a closed
community with its culture, social structure and eventually its local economic system which is dependent on the environment.
Earning a living is subject to the weather conditions and the gifts of the sea. Villagers’ houses are primitive and poorly built with
materials unable to withstand the coastal environment. Structural problems of coastal buildings ranging vastly from humidity,
powerful wind currents, to heavy winter rains effects dwellings extensively fast. Such natural processes have been capable of
physical deterioration and due to years of neglect, the physical core of the village is considered at risk. Villagers do not see that
renovating and maintaining their homes is an issue to be discussed. They believe in the fact that a house is a place with poor
physical structure, but a home encompasses some dynamic emotional and spiritual aspects, and the distinction between the two
concepts are fundamental (Poor, 2015). According to them, more pressing livelihood matters require more attention. Even
though decision makers in Alexandria favour the removal of the village and its relocation to a nearby place, the fishermen have
developed a sense of community which relates to the notion of feeling belonged. The sense of belonging to a place is important,
it means to have a personal relationship with the place of being and to feel like a part of the neighbourhood. Therefore, to
achieve a self-sufficient community, it must be cohesive. Its well-being is important to be addressed and can be achieved
through a more conducive living environment (Harlina Mohamad Ali, 2012).
However, according to the Informal Settlement Development Facility (ISDF) and due to its current circumstances, the area
has been graded on the level of risk, a number two; an unsafe informal area.
5.2.4 Previous Work at El-Max
Association for Art and Development is a coalition of artists, writers, photographers, directors, dramatists, and
musicians motivated by art. From 2000 to 2008, Gudran worked with the people of El-Max to spread awareness through art as
the means to establish a neutral ground for dialogue between the organisation and the villagers. They focused on fostering
connections with the villagers through art workshops aimed at educating women, children, and teenagers. The initiative of this
local NGO aimed to achieve a positive mutual cultural exchange between all participants through collective artistic work.
5.2.5 Objectives and Hidden Potentials at El-Max Fishermen Village
More detailed information about the work of Gudran at El-Max fisherman village can be found on their website;
Dina Mamdouh Nassar, Marwa Kamel El-Sayed / EBPJ 7th AicE-Bs2016Edinburgh, UK, 27-30 July 2016 6
In aims of unfolding the true potentials of the area; making it not only an urban upgrade project for positive social, cultur al
and economic development, but also, a pollution free, self-sustained, safe and secure community, attracting tourists from places
across the world.
As stated before, El-Max has been a home to the local fishermen for decades; therefore, the adaptability of this approach is
directed towards social inclusion and participation while creating a model for other local communities. The process of public
involvement in communities raises the levels of awareness and activism of residents concerning urban development (Jamalunlaili
Abdullahab, 2015). It aims at using social capital as an asset to enhance positive social values towards healthy living that
contributes to the quality of life (Hazlina Hamdan, 2014). It also focuses on their growing demands and the ability to fulfil and
manage them to generate efficient and effective results and to guarantee fair investment allocation plans (Ibrahim, 2012). The
outcome will benefit local, city and regional levels, by providing security, a strong local economy, and environmental
Site surveys by the authors uncovered two potentials that can revolutionise the area in a way that makes it, not only a
sustainable community but also an attraction point for environmental and cultural tourism;
A. The Archaeological Fortress of El-Max
The Number of remaining archaeological sea defensive
fortresses in Alexandria; called ‘Tawabi’, have witnessed an important
era in the history of Egypt. With all the triumphs and failures, they held
a major role in protecting the borders of Egypt and its coast against
potential invaders.
Throughout history, a formidable wall has always been a
fundamental protecting structure of major cities; especially along the
coast of the Mediterranean Sea from Abu Qir to Port Said. Twenty-
one historical fortresses were archaeologically recorded in and around
the city of Alexandria. One of which is called the fortress of El-Max,
‘Tabiat El-Max El-Tahtaniah’ shown in Fig. (4). (Aref, 2007)
An Islamic Archaeology official source stated that the fortress was
built in the nineteenth century in conjunction with the construction of
the canal itself, to protect it and guard the northern coast of Alexandria.
This ancient abandoned building, although strategically located on a small island in the canal, locales do not see this fortress
except as home to outlaws and drug abuse. The opportunity this place can give to the area must be added into the upgrade
development project. Awareness of its potentials must first be addressed to locals to come up with suitable solutions according to
their needs.
B. Industrial Heritage Building
Through site investigation, authors discovered an abandoned old, yet significant industrial building. It is situated on a bridge
across the canal at its end towards the south, just before the canal joins the Marriott Lake as shown in Fig. (5). This vacant
building can be adaptively reused, the community can gain economic and heritage conservation characteristics besides fishing.
The industrial building and the fortress are both considered hidden, yet potential assets to the community. For example, the
building can be reused as a fish restaurant and cafe overlooking a natural mangrove habitat Fig. (6) and the view of the canal.
People can take a tour by boat in to reach the place, crossing by the fortress to admire its historical significance and learn of its
glory. The building can also become a community centre, to encourage initiatives designed to improve the quality of life and
encourage citizens to play their role in the urban environment (Nurul Hidayah Chamhuri H. H., 2015). As a result, it will increase
security and sociability concepts (Neda Sadat Sahragard Monfared, 2015), as well as, poverty reduction with the help of public
participation in ensuring the quality of life of the urban poor.
Fig. (4) Archaeological Fortress of El-Max
Source: Authors
Dina Mamdouh Nassar, Marwa Kamel El-Sayed / EBPJ 7th AicE-Bs2016Edinburgh, UK, 27-30 July 2016 7
5.2.6 Institutional Context and Method of Operation at El-Max area
The principal stakeholders at El-Max fishermen area include the following; Coastal Guards, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of
Water Resources and Irrigation, Ministry of Housing, Ministry of Petroleum and the Ministry of Solidarity, Social Justice, and the
local community of El-Max’. These institutions all have interests in the area. The Coastal Guards’ major concern is national
security. The fishermen pose a threat, some of them were caught in illegal activities. They have been involved in smuggling and
illegal immigration. With the strategic location on the West harbour connected directly to the sea, making it convenient to be
involved in this predicament and especially with the economic decline resulting from the lack of fish in the polluted canal and sea.
It is assumed that, by providing support to local fishermen through an urban upgrade project that serves their simple needs
(fishing nets, boat maintenance, permission to fish in the Mediterranean, canal water purification, and a community centre); this
will eliminate negative social behaviour, thus ensuring the security of the harbour and eliminating all illegal activities, while
creating a positive outcome in the area and the city. to enhance their quality of life, investment in micro-enterprises that reflect the
unique nature and character of the area, such as; fish restaurants, cafes, fishing crafts and marine touristic activities.
Considering the simple requirements for the upgrade of El-Max, the action plan can begin by facilitating four main issues: 1.
Forbidding petroleum companies to dispose of industrial waste in the canal. 2. Establishing a community centre to discuss an d
solve their issues. 3. Addressing the Coastal Guards to provide fishing authorization with full observation. 4. Granting the
fishermen long term leases and beneficial rights of the area in return for services and maintenance (Nassar, Naguib,
ElFakharany, & Kamel, 2014).
Unfortunately, the local government has neglected the problems of El-Max fishermen for many years, holding no future
development plans for the area.
While conducting the study, authors acquired latest updates from the local government of Alexandria. According to A.
, the government will intervene to resolve the problems of El-Max fishermen in the near future. The ministry of water
resources and irrigation is now working on a big project in the Marriott Lake, it proposes to widen the two canals at El-Max to
dispose of the increase in water level from the lake out into the sea through a new water pumping station. This will result in
widening the canal and raising the water level by 2.7 meters. The accelerated water current of the canal resulted in destroying
the soil beneath the buildings that are adjacent to the canal. Their structural status is at risk considering the threats of rising water
level. The urgent demand to relocate the fishermen community into a safer place is mandatory. The local government in
Alexandria confined a number of 230 affected families respectively.
According to the Informal Settlement Development Facility (ISDF), this informal community is now a life-threatening area
graded number two because of its geological and environmental risk. Therefore to ensure the protection and livelihoods of the
locals, they are scheduled to be transferred to state-owned housing units in November 2016.
Mr. A. Shawky- Chief Financial Officer in slums administration- Alexandria Governorate.
Fig. (5) Industrial Heritage Building
Source: Authors
Fig. (6) Natural Mangrove Vegetation on Site
Source: Authors
Dina Mamdouh Nassar, Marwa Kamel El-Sayed / EBPJ 7th AicE-Bs2016Edinburgh, UK, 27-30 July 2016 8
After state negotiations with the newly established fishermen society of El-Max, they came to an agreement of removing
the fisherman housing units and relocating the affected 230 families away to better homes. However, there are more issues
remaining to be solved; where to put their boats and store their fishing gears. The local government in return assures the
construction of storage units for their equipment. The canal banks will also have a docking platform for their boats.
Eight apartment buildings with 160 available units will be provided, located just east of the canal. After the water level has
been stabilized, the government will use the remaining space on the banks of the canal in commercial and touristic activities to
take advantage of the canal view.
It is assumed that by providing support to local fishermen through an urban upgrade project that serves their simple needs
(fishing nets, boat maintenance, permission to fish in the Mediterranean, canal water purification, and a community centre); this
will eliminate the negative social behaviour, to enhance their quality of life, investment in micro-enterprises that reflect the unique
nature and character of the area, such as; fish restaurants, cafes, fishing crafts and marine touristic activities.
The significance of the project from the Ministry's point of view is to ensure the security of the harbour and the elimination of all
illegal activities, while creating a positive outcome in the area and the city.
Considering the financial aid is comparatively low. Therefore, if the government is motivated to carry out the urban
development, the action plan would begin by facilitating the above four main issues.
6. Recommendations
6.1 Proposed Urban Upgrade Program for El-Max Fishermen Village
In pursuance of sustainable development, a community integrated design approach can be adapted to achieve the effective
urban upgrade. This is obtained through the economic, social, and environmental development of El-Max Fishermen Village.
To achieve economic development; micro-enterprise investment will help create job opportunities for the locals. In addition to the
income gained from becoming a touristic attraction on the local, national and international levels.
Providing security for tenants and occupants by presenting beneficial land rights for the local fishermen (legalising their
situation), assists in social development. As well as introduce the concept of Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) as a safety
performance and occupants’ satisfaction assessment tool (Husrul Nizam Husina, 2015). El-Max fishermen community is
recognised for its unique urban fabric which constitutes its identity, therefore, any services or buildings added should keep that in
perspective to ensure social cohesion and engagement.
With regards to environmental sustainability; ensuring marine and plant life by the reduction of industrial pollution, constant
environmental impact assessment, and evaluation, as well as, introducing energy efficiency and water conservation techniques
through public awareness campaigns.
6.2 Community Driven Development Approach
Community Driven Development (CDD) programs are guided by principles of clarity, social inclusion, community
empowerment, requires participation and responsiveness, local accountability, and enhanced local capacity (Wong, 2012).
Recent studies have shown that when provided with concise and clear guidelines, accessibility to information, sufficient local
abilities, and financial aid; members of the community can effectively identify their needs and propose solutions for their problems
in cooperation with local authorities and supporting organisations. CDD approaches and actions have been recognised by the
World Bank for their fundamental principles of an effective poverty reduction and sustainable development strategy, where urban
poverty should be treated more as relative poverty and distributional issues (Nurul Hidayah Chamhuri H. A., 2012).
Despite the advantages of CDD approaches, studies have listed the following as challenges and limitations that require
attention in the design and implementation process of CDD projects:
New models of implementation, which require adaptive legal frameworks and systems to ensure sustainable development.
Convergence with sector programs and formal decentralisation offering an efficient local urban development base that support
the principles of the approach into the entire sub-national governance system.
Urban applications to varying local contexts, even participation is considered essential in the urban upgrade of slums.
Dina Mamdouh Nassar, Marwa Kamel El-Sayed / EBPJ 7th AicE-Bs2016Edinburgh, UK, 27-30 July 2016 9
Supporting livelihoods through providing basic services and public investments. And due to CDD’s growing demand in middle-
income urban contexts; further analysis is required to provide the conditions for its success.
Therefore, in the application of this approach, the previous challenges should be kept in mind during the planning phase,
conducting phase and applying phase to ensure achieving the goals of sustainable development.
7. Conclusion
Framework for Urban Management Programs is used to establish urban development strategies to further improve the
capacity of municipal authorities to implement participatory management mechanisms.
A framework where stakeholders can be approached and dealt with from an institutional aspect. To begin with, the Ministry
of Solidarity and Social Justice would be advised to establish El-Max Fishermen association / El Max Fishermen community
centre. This association will grant the opportunity to discuss and solve problems without having to resort to higher authorities. As
for the Ministry of State for Environmental affairs with the Alexandria Petroleum Company (APC), it is recommended to follow the
international modern technology to reduce pollution and implement the environmental management policy. And finally, the
Coastal Guards in Alexandria and Ministry of Defence contribute by allowing fishing permits in the sea with constant supervision
over any smuggling and illegal immigration activities.
Throughout the process of development, some challenges will appear when executing the proposed idea of an urban
upgrade through a community-driven approach based on local needs and managed potentials. However, putting that aside and
following state stereotypical solutions to informal settlement problems will deprive local fishermen their sense of belonging.
Sustainable development of El-Max Fishermen Village can be as follows:
From an environmental stance, air pollution treatment plan using filters as well as restrictions and policies that prohibit
industrial pollution. A buffer zone or green corridor can be proposed to separate the industrial and residential areas. A sewage
treatment plan for the whole area, in addition to the use of locally grown native aquatic plants on the banks’ of the canal to assist
in the purification of water from contaminants. Restoring the canal’s ecology is considered vital for the livelihood of the fishermen
to encourage the growth of fish habitats. Finally, maintaining the natural habitat on site to use it as a sightseeing tour and
attraction point, making use of the fortress and the abandoned industrial building to support touristic, commercial and recre ational
activities suitable for the area.
Physical outcomes of development would constitute the upgrade of the existing urban gaps and opening up new community
spaces. Provision of basic supplies and services essential to the standard quality of life (such as health care unit, fish market,
bazaar shop, public coffee shops, security kiosks, fish restaurant, playground, mosque, boat maintenance workshops and water
transportation). The rehabilitation of buildings; structure, infrastructure, finishing and living conditions. Upgrading the pedestrian
network, adjusting the roads for emergency access and construction of a structurally stable boat harbour. As well as, proposing
a future extension plan for the population growth.
As a response to the government proposal stated earlier in the institutional context section, it would be advised to
temporarily relocate the locals in the suggested state-owned property until the water level stabilizes. Removal of only units
affected by the water level rise will be compensated in the developed master plan of the area to maintain its identity and urban
fabric. After which, the proposed urban upgrade supporting the community-driven approach is carried out to ensure the
satisfaction of locals and achieving sustainability goals.
The authors wish to acknowledge Prof. Dr. Mohsen Bayad Professor of Architecture at Faculty of Fine Arts for his guidance
and support. Also, Arch. Ingy Naguib & Arch. Ahmed El-Fakharany; both teacher assistants at Pharos University in
Alexandria, for their efforts in the field study. Not to forget, Arch. David Ashraf for taking photographs of the area. All of these
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... The fishing village in Al-Max was categorized as "grade two" in the 2009 national map of unsafe areas by the ISDF, a representation of space designating the area as "life-threatening" (Maabady, 2015; see also Khalifa, 2011Khalifa, , 2015. According to the strategic plans of Alexandria for the year 2032, which started to be enacted from 2010 onwards, the fishing village strip falls under the category "land owned by the Egyptian Armed Forces authority" (Nassar & El-Sayed, 2016). After the January 2011 uprising, a cooperation agreement was signed between the ISDF and the Alexandria governorate to develop the area by building housing projects in the El-Max district and relocating sub-areas, including the fishing village. ...
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