ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

Green spaces are recognised as an important contributor in enhancing the quality of urban life. Many cities are now working on preserving and increasing their green spaces as a part of their sustainable development plans. Unfortunately, green spaces in Cairo are currently being marginalised and the city has been losing significant quantities of its already limited green spaces in favour of other developmental projects. This article analyses the quantities and distribution of existing green spaces in Cairo using official numerical data. The results show recent changes that happened between the years 2017 and 2020. The focus is on public green spaces: amenity green spaces between residential blocks, street green spaces, plant nurseries under public management and public parks. Finally, the trend of disappearing green spaces in Cairo is discussed. The discussion extends the comparison to include data from the years 2000 and 2006 to demonstrate the rapid changes happening in Cairo that are altering the city and affecting many of its residents. The problem of lack of data about green spaces is also examined in the discussion. Documenting green spaces areas and distribution in Cairo is important because no recent published data are available for decision-makers, researchers and planners. Data is also scattered between different sources because of the division of management responsibilities between different public agencies. A larger-scale project is required to accurately survey all green spaces in Cairo and create a comprehensive publicly accessible geographical database that documents all their types, quantities and distribution.
shows the dominance of desert areas, the dense urban fabric and the low availability of green spaces in Cairo. The data collected about green spaces in Cairo shows that the city has a limited presence of green spaces. Between the years 2017 and 2020, Cairo lost 910,894 m 2 of its already limited green spaces. With the increase of its population number, the individual share of green spaces decreased from 0.87 to 0.74 m 2 (Table 2). The highest loss of green spaces was mainly in Heliopolis and East Nasr City. Heliopolis lost 272,274 m 2 between the years 2017 and 2020 while East Nasr City lost 311,283 m 2 5 . Moreover, Cairo does not only have a problem with the overall quantity of green spaces but also with their uneven distribution across its districts 6 (Figs. 2, 3 and 4). In the year 2020, 22 districts out of 37, where 66% of the population live, had an individual share of green spaces less than 0.50 m 2 . The lowest share in this category is 0.01 m 2 at al-Matariya and the highest is at Abdin, 0.46 m 2 . Only 5 districts have an individual share of more than 3 m 2 : Gharb al-Qahira (10.04 m 2 ), al-Maadi (5.27 m 2 ), al-Nozha (5.00 m 2 ) and Heliopolis (3.52 m 2 ). Wasat al-Qahira district is the location of al-Azhar park and also has a relatively low population number which contributed to its placement amongst the higher categories of individual share of green spaces in Cairo with 3.22 m 2 /individual. Finally, 7 districts in Cairo lie between 0.50 and 1.50 m 2 of green spaces per individual. This means that 83% of Cairo's population live in districts with an individual share of green spaces less than 1.5 m 2 . Al-Basatin is the lowest in this category with 0.54 m 2 / individual and Misr al-Qadima is the highest with 1.35 m 2 /individual. The individual shares for the other five districts are al-Azbakiya (0.59 m 2 ), al-Mosky (0.90 m 2 ), Helwan (0.91 m 2 ), al-Tebin (1.13 m 2 ) and al-Waily (1.19 m 2 ). The middle category, between 1.50 and 3.00 m 2 of green spaces per individual, has only 3 districts: East Nasr City (1.69 m 2 /individual), al-Moqattam (1.80 m 2 /individual) and West Nasr City (2.86 m 2 / individual). East Nasr City, despite having the second-highest green spaces area in Cairo (1,116,468 m 2 ), its high population number lowered the residents' share of green spaces significantly.
… 
Content may be subject to copyright.
R E S E A R C H Open Access
Public green space quantity and
distribution in Cairo, Egypt
Dalia Aly
1,2*
and Branka Dimitrijevic
1
* Correspondence: dalia-aly-gaafar-
aly@strath.ac.uk;daliaali@eng.asu.
edu.eg
1
Department of Architecture,
Faculty of Engineering, University of
Strathclyde, 75 Montrose Street,
G11XJ, Glasgow, UK
2
Department of Architecture,
Faculty of Engineering, Ain Shams
University, 1 Elsarayat Street,
Abbasiya, Cairo 11517, Egypt
Abstract
Green spaces are recognised as an important contributor in enhancing the quality of
urban life. Many cities are now working on preserving and increasing their green
spaces as a part of their sustainable development plans. Unfortunately, green spaces
in Cairo are currently being marginalised and the city has been losing significant
quantities of its already limited green spaces in favour of other developmental
projects. This article analyses the quantities and distribution of existing green spaces
in Cairo using official numerical data. The results show recent changes that
happened between the years 2017 and 2020. The focus is on public green spaces:
amenity green spaces between residential blocks, street green spaces, plant nurseries
under public management and public parks. Finally, the trend of disappearing green
spaces in Cairo is discussed. The discussion extends the comparison to include data
from the years 2000 and 2006 to demonstrate the rapid changes happening in Cairo
that are altering the city and affecting many of its residents. The problem of lack of
data about green spaces is also examined in the discussion. Documenting green
spaces areas and distribution in Cairo is important because no recent published data
are available for decision-makers, researchers and planners. Data is also scattered
between different sources because of the division of management responsibilities
between different public agencies. A larger-scale project is required to accurately
survey all green spaces in Cairo and create a comprehensive publicly accessible
geographical database that documents all their types, quantities and distribution.
Keywords: Cairo, Green space, Public park, Urban inequality, Disparities,
Development, Infrastructure
Introduction
The city of Cairo, in over a thousand years, had grown vastly in area, from around 7
km
2
when founded as al-Fustat [23], to 840 km
2
[27]. It has the highest number of in-
habitants in Egyptaround 9.9 millionwhich represents 10% of the Egyptian popula-
tion [11]. It had gone through major transformations that gradually changed its urban
character. Nowadays, Cairo is still subjected to rapid changes and both formal and in-
formal development. The old urban core is still growing and attracting more popula-
tion while new communities are expanding towards its desert boundaries with new
districts and satellite cities. Through the process of urbanisation, Cairo has been losing
© The Author(s). 2022 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which
permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the
original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or
other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit
line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by
statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a
copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver
(http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a
credit line to the data.
Journal of Engineerin
g
and Applied Science
Aly and Dimitrijevic Journal of Engineering and Applied Science (2022) 69:15
https://doi.org/10.1186/s44147-021-00067-z
large areas of its agricultural lands, in addition to the growth of informal settlements
with poor living conditions. The city suffers many problems, like traffic congestion,
poor air quality, water pollution and inefficient waste management [7,22,27]. Along
with these problems, Cairo also lacks the presence of sufficient green spaces that can
mitigate these problems and decrease their harmful effects.
This article assesses the current situation regarding the provision of green spaces and
public parks in Cairo. The goal is to highlight the critical position the city is currently
at regarding the presence of sufficient quantities and adequate distribution of green
spaces by providing recent numerical data that overcome the limitation in the currently
available sources. The Methodssection explains the scope of the study, the types of
green spaces included and the process of data acquisition. Types of green spaces the
study includes are amenity green spaces between residential blocks, street green spaces,
plant nurseries under public management and public parks. It also focuses only on
green spaces and public parks in Cairos districts and does not include new
communities.
Afterwards, the results compare the most recent changes, during the years 2017 and
2020, in the provision of green spaces in Cairo as a whole and in its districts. They also
show the existing public parks in the city, their areas and distribution. Finally, the dis-
cussion follows the green spaces changes that happened over the years, extending to
the years 2000 and 2006, reaching the current critical state of low presence and poor
distribution of green spaces over the city. The trend of disappearing green spaces is dis-
cussed within the urban development approach that has been followed recently in
Cairo. The negative effects of losing green spaces in Cairo are also highlighted. The dis-
cussion also examines the problems related to the lack and fragmentation of Cairos
green spaces data.
Methods
Research scope: Green spaces in Cairo
Cairo City is divided into 4 main regions (Southern, Western, Northern and Eastern)
which consist of 37 districts. At the periphery of the southern and eastern regions, there
are 4 new communities. The districts and new communities lie under different adminis-
trative jurisdictions, but together they form the boundaries of Cairo Governorate. This re-
search focuses on public green spaces in the 37 districts of Cairo City (Fig. 1).
Urban green spaces are vegetated open spaces in cities that can be either public or
private ([15,26], p. 282 and 778 [16,18];). Cairo has several types of public green
spaces that differ in areas, features and use. The city does not have an official classifica-
tion for all its green areas except for the classification adopted by Cairo Cleanliness and
Beautification Agency (CCBA) which covers only the green spaces they manage. Ac-
cording to CCBA data, the agency divides green spaces into six categories: 1) public
parks, 2) main axes green spaces, 3) self-efforts green spaces, 4) nurseries, 5) Distinctive
Gardens (DG) and 6) Specialised Gardens (SG) (Table 1).
Green spaces categories adopted by CCBA are different from the common categories
found in literature. For example, as the main feature of CCBA public parks, is being
free, green space in a residential block or a green strip along a street are included. They
do not separate between amenity green spaces and linear green spaces along streets
Aly and Dimitrijevic Journal of Engineering and Applied Science (2022) 69:15 Page 2 of 23
except for major streets. DG and SG are the public parks in Cairo as they are green
spaces used mainly for recreation [26]. However, they do not have free access and
CCBA does not categorise them as public parks. Public parks, including DG, SG and
other major public parks in Cairo, are one of the green space types that are included
within this study in more detail.
Cairo also has other types of public and private green spaces. For example, private
clubs and youth clubs often include some green areas. Institutional buildings like
schools, universities, museums and other public buildings may also have green areas.
These types of green spaces can contribute to providing several benefits to the city, but
Fig. 1 Cairo Governorate (Cairo City and its surrounding new communities)
Aly and Dimitrijevic Journal of Engineering and Applied Science (2022) 69:15 Page 3 of 23
they have not been included in this study for two reasons: the limited public accessibil-
ity of some of these green spaces and the lack of comprehensive data that covers all of
them as the responsibility of their management is divided between several authorities.
Accordingly, this research covers only standalone types of green spaces and those that
are part of a street or a square.
Data acquisition
To analyse the current situation in Cairo regarding its green spaces, three data types
were required: (1) areas of green spaces in different districts, (2) population number at
each of them and (3) shapefile for the administrative boundaries of Cairo and the div-
ision of its districts. The shapefile was acquired from the Transport for Egypt Project
and modified to be integrated with the other data types. Population data and green
spaces areas for 2020 were linked geographically in ArcMap with the shapefiles of the
districts to create a database for green spaces in Cairo. They were used to calculate the
2020 individual share of green spaces in Cairo and in each of its districts which were
also added to the database. Finally, points were created for public parks locations in
Cairo. The data were used to create maps using ArcMap, besides representing them in
tables and graphs. Detailed tables and additional information about data acquisition are
included as Supplementary materials.
For population data, the research depended on the data published by the CAMPAS
[12] for the year 2017, and for 2020, the Cairo Governorate Portal [10] was used. On
the other hand, finding accurate data about areas of green spaces in Cairo can be diffi-
cult. The data available from previous research are outdated and GIS mapping for
green spaces in Cairo is not available online. To achieve comprehensive data within the
current limited availability, the research synthesised areas of green spaces from various
sources for the years 2017 and 2020.
First of all, because CCBA manages most of the Citys green spaces, the agency was
contacted to provide the data for the green spacesareas. Excel files were obtained with
areas of green spaces in each district in Cairo for the years 2017 and 2020. These data
covered the types of green space that were presented in Table 1except for the SG.
Table 1 CCBA Categorisation for green spaces and equivalent category in literature
CCBA category Definition Categories according
to Swanwick et al. [26]
Public parks Amenity green spaces in the districtsstreets, squares and
between buildings in residential areas that are free to use
Amenity/incidental
green spaces
Linear green spaces
Main axes green spaces Green spaces at the middle or sides of main streets Linear green spaces
Self-efforts green spaces Green spaces created through collective efforts of residents
and the support of CCBA
Amenity/incidental
green spaces
Nurseries Used to grow different types of vegetation to be used by
CCBA and to sell to the public
Functional green spaces
Distinctive gardens (DG) Green spaces that are controlled and actively managed
for recreational use by a dedicated management agency
the DG Administration
Amenity/recreational
public park
Specialised gardens (SG) Green spaces that are controlled and actively managed for
recreational use by a dedicated, independent management
agencythe SG Administration
Amenity/recreational
public park
Aly and Dimitrijevic Journal of Engineering and Applied Science (2022) 69:15 Page 4 of 23
Secondly, other agencies were contacted for some missing data for the similar types of
green spaces: (1) the SG Administration: for the SG areas, and (2) al-Nasr Company:
for additional residential amenity/incidental green spaces that they still manage and are
not handed over to CCBA in two districts, al-Moqattam and al-Basatin. Finally, areas of
well-known public parks, which are not managed by either CCBA or the SG Adminis-
tration, were also added from internet sources or calculated using ArcMap. These
major parks included: the Cultural Park for Children (CPC) [1], al-Fustat Park
1
and
Arab al-Mohamady Park
2
[5] (which are managed by CCBA and were yet not included
in their data), al-Azhar park [2], Merryland Park [14], al-Zohriya Park (Cairo [9]), the
Aquarium Grotto Park [25], the Child Centre of Civilization and Creativity (CCCC), al-
Maadi Island, al-Helmiya, Badr, al-Andalusiya and Panorama October parks
3
.
Modified data from previous research
The most recent data that were mentioned in the previous part needed to be compared
in the discussion with data from previous years to show the changes that happened in
Cairo. Data were found for the years 2000 and 2006 from previous research. However,
these data could not have been discussed directly and some modifications were re-
quired to allow more consistency in the comparison. The boundaries of Cairo for all
the years are the same but the internal divisions of the districts have some changes.
Some districts that were previously merged and managed as one, have been divided
into two separate districts. Besides presenting the data according to the most recent di-
visions, green spaces areas, population number and the individual share of green spaces
were recalculated for the merged districts to allow a consistent comparison between
the 4 years.
For the year 2006, a master thesis by Assem Shaban
4
(2009) included a study of green
spacesareas in Cairo. His research also depended on data from CCBA. The excel file
Shaban originally acquired was requested, and he sent it by email. The table in the
excel file included areas for green spaces in each district in Cairo divided into CCBA
categories but including also youth centres and sports clubs, and green spaces inside
governmental buildings. A sum was calculated for each district to be used in this re-
search but excluding youth centres and sports clubs, and green spaces inside govern-
mental buildings as these types are not within the scope of this research as mentioned
earlier. Population data for the year 2006 were available from CAPMAS [13].
For the year 2000, al-Zafarany [4] article was used as a source for data but some
modifications were needed also for consistency. The article categorised green spaces as
recreational areas which indicated that the total areas might not include only green
spaces. That was confirmed when the data were revised in detail and green spaces
areas in some districts were shown to have a high value when compared to the year
1
Area was calculated using ArcMap because official sources mention a much bigger area for the park which
by examining the satellite images and after visiting the park was found to be significantly less than that
mentioned area.
2
At the beginning of 2021, Arab al-Mohamdy park and the SG, al-Waily, were handed over to Ain Shams
University after an administrative decision that the two parks belong to the Faculty of Medicine Campus.
3
Areas were calculated using ArcMap because there were not any data available online for the areas of these
parks.
4
The data in his thesis included a different boundary for Cairo with fewer districts which would have made
any comparison inaccurate, so it was better to get the original data and recalculate the values to unify the
boundaries and the number of districts.
Aly and Dimitrijevic Journal of Engineering and Applied Science (2022) 69:15 Page 5 of 23
2006. Al-Zafarany data were also originally from CCBA which is expected to have the
same format as the data from the year 2006. It was concluded that youth centres and
sports clubs were part of the recreational areas he calculated. Accordingly, the youth
centres and sports clubs areas in the 2006 data were subtracted from the totals of each
district mentioned by al-Zafarany [4]. The establishment dates of the youth centres and
sports clubs were revised using the Ministry of Youth and Sports website to ensure that
there were not any new centres or clubs between the two dates. The population data
used by al-Zafarany were used after correcting a minor mistake in the population num-
ber of al-Moqattam and al-Khalifa districts.
Results
Green spaces provision and distribution in Cairo
Figure 2shows the dominance of desert areas, the dense urban fabric and the low avail-
ability of green spaces in Cairo. The data collected about green spaces in Cairo shows
that the city has a limited presence of green spaces. Between the years 2017 and 2020,
Cairo lost 910,894 m
2
of its already limited green spaces. With the increase of its popu-
lation number, the individual share of green spaces decreased from 0.87 to 0.74 m
2
(Table 2). The highest loss of green spaces was mainly in Heliopolis and East Nasr City.
Heliopolis lost 272,274 m
2
between the years 2017 and 2020 while East Nasr City lost
311,283 m
25
.
Moreover, Cairo does not only have a problem with the overall quantity of green
spaces but also with their uneven distribution across its districts
6
(Figs. 2,3and 4). In
the year 2020, 22 districts out of 37, where 66% of the population live, had an individ-
ual share of green spaces less than 0.50 m
2
. The lowest share in this category is 0.01 m
2
at al-Matariya and the highest is at Abdin, 0.46 m
2
. Only 5 districts have an individual
share of more than 3 m
2
: Gharb al-Qahira (10.04 m
2
), al-Maadi (5.27 m
2
), al-Nozha
(5.00 m
2
) and Heliopolis (3.52 m
2
). Wasat al-Qahira district is the location of al-Azhar
park and also has a relatively low population number which contributed to its place-
ment amongst the higher categories of individual share of green spaces in Cairo with
3.22 m
2
/individual.
Finally, 7 districts in Cairo lie between 0.50 and 1.50 m
2
of green spaces per individ-
ual. This means that 83% of Cairos population live in districts with an individual share
of green spaces less than 1.5 m
2
. Al-Basatin is the lowest in this category with 0.54 m
2
/
individual and Misr al-Qadima is the highest with 1.35 m
2
/individual. The individual
shares for the other five districts are al-Azbakiya (0.59 m
2
), al-Mosky (0.90 m
2
), Helwan
(0.91 m
2
), al-Tebin (1.13 m
2
) and al-Waily (1.19 m
2
). The middle category, between
1.50 and 3.00 m
2
of green spaces per individual, has only 3 districts: East Nasr City
(1.69 m
2
/individual), al-Moqattam (1.80 m
2
/individual) and West Nasr City (2.86 m
2
/
individual). East Nasr City, despite having the second-highest green spaces area in
Cairo (1,116,468 m
2
), its high population number lowered the residentsshare of green
spaces significantly.
5
For the detailed data of green spaces in Cairo, check Tables 1 and 2 in the Supplementary materials.
6
For the detailed data of green spaces distribution in Cairo, check Tables 1 and 2 in the Supplementary
materials.
Aly and Dimitrijevic Journal of Engineering and Applied Science (2022) 69:15 Page 6 of 23
Public park provision, distribution and area categories in Cairo
Fifty-four public parks have been identified in Cairo that have dedicated management
and offer active recreation
7
. The distribution of these parks is not equal between
Cairos districts (Fig. 5). Many districts that do not have green spaces in general also do
not have public parks, while some of them have more of the other types of amenity
green spaces and private clubs but fewer public parks. Al-Nozha District, for example,
has one of the highest quantities of green spaces in Cairo, but it only has the Child
Fig. 2 Satellite image taken in September 2019 showing green spaces in Cairo. Intensity of the green
colour was changed to show the green spaces more clearly. Original satellite image is from Nasa
Earth Observartoryhttps://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/146
7
For the detailed data of public parks in Cairo, check Table 3 in the Supplementary materials.
Aly and Dimitrijevic Journal of Engineering and Applied Science (2022) 69:15 Page 7 of 23
Fig. 3 Distribution of green spaces in Cairo based on 2020 data
Table 2 Summary of green spaces data in the years 2017 and 2020
Year Green spaces area m
2
Population number Individual share of green spaces m
2
/individual
2017 7,834,388 9,030,128 0.87
2020 6,923,494 9,415,766 0.74
Aly and Dimitrijevic Journal of Engineering and Applied Science (2022) 69:15 Page 8 of 23
Centre of Civilization and Creativity (CCCC) which is partially a park but mainly a mu-
seum for children. Similarly, Heliopolis only has Merryland Park which is currently
closed.
Gharb al-Qahira has the highest number of public parks and also the highest individ-
ual share of green spaces in Cairo. It has 8 parks, 7 of which are at al-Zamalek Island.
In general, most of Cairos public parks are divided between its southern and eastern
regions with 18 and 16 parks respectively. However, 5 out of 11 districts in the south-
ern region and 3 districts out of the 9 districts of the eastern region do not have any
Fig. 4 Individual share of green spaces in Cairo based on 2020 data
Aly and Dimitrijevic Journal of Engineering and Applied Science (2022) 69:15 Page 9 of 23
public parks. Districts like al-Matariya, al-Marg, Dar al-Salam, Tora and Monshat Nasr
that have close to zero green spaces do not have any public parks either.
According to Swanwick et al.s[26] hierarchy of public parks
8
(Fig. 6), most public
parks in Cairo, 20 out of 54, have an area between 12,000 and 40,000 m
2
. The second-
Fig. 5 Distribution of main public parks in Cairo
8
For the detailed data of the categories of public parks in Cairo, check Table 4 in the Supplementary
materials.
Aly and Dimitrijevic Journal of Engineering and Applied Science (2022) 69:15 Page 10 of 23
highest category in the number of public parks has parks even smaller in area (less than
or equal to 12,000 m
2
). 18 parks lie in this category, including a park as small as 2000
m
2
. In general, Cairo has few large parks, 7 with an area larger than 80,000 m
2
and 9
between 40,000 and 80,000 m
2
. The largest parks in Cairo are the 300,000 m
2
al-Azhar
park, al-Dawilya Park and the currently closed Merryland Park which both have an area
of 210,000 m
2
.
Fig. 6 Categorisation of public parks in Cairo according to their area
Aly and Dimitrijevic Journal of Engineering and Applied Science (2022) 69:15 Page 11 of 23
Discussion
Continuous loss of green spaces in Cairo
Based on the data published by al-Zafarany [4], the calculated individual share of green
spaces for the year 2000 was 0.98 m
2
/individual. This is different from what he men-
tioned in his article as he estimated the individual share to be 1.5 m
2
/individual. His es-
timation is higher because he included youth centres, sports clubs and added part of
the Nile surface. In 2005 al-Azhar park was established at Wasat al-Qahira District and
added a significant area of 300,000 m
2
to the green spaces of the city. This contributed
to slightly enhancing the individual share of green spaces. In 2006, the individual share
of green spaces increased to 1.18 m
2
/individual. It decreased in 2017 to be 0.87 m
2
and
continued to decrease to reach 0.74 m
2
/individual in 2020. By the year 2020, Cairo has
lost 2,128,280 m
2
of green spaces compared to 2006. 910,894 m
2
were lost in the three
years between 2017 and 2020.
Cairo kept losing green spaces without any major new additions. The resultant overall
trend is a decrease in the total area of green spaces and an increase in population number
which together led to the decrease in the individual share of green spaces (Fig. 7). Over
the years and even in the highest recorded estimations, Cairo has always had an individual
share of green spaces far less than the international recommended standards, for example,
9m
2
/individual as suggested by the World Health Organization [21]. It is even less than
the minimum local standards for existing cities as suggested by the National Organization
for Urban Harmony (NOUH) which are 7 m
2
/individual and 5 m
2
/individual for the Nile
Valley cities and desert cities respectively [28]
9
.
Also, disparities between districts did not change over the years showing that no ef-
forts or interventions were made to enhance the situation. Districts with the lowest and
highest individual share of green spaces remained almost the same. However, some dis-
tricts with the highest individual share lost a significant amount of their green spaces.
For example, Misr al-Qadima had a slight increase in its residents' share in 2006 (3.32
m
2
) and decreased again below its value in 2000 (2.77 m
2
) to reach 1.72 m
2
in 2017
and 1.35 m
2
in 2020. Wasat al-Qahira, on the other hand, witnessed a major transform-
ation in the year 2006 because of the establishment of al-Azhar Park. The individual
share of green spaces increased from 0.23 m
2
in 2000 to 3.09 m
2
in 2006. It slightly in-
creased again in 2017 to reach 3.37 m
2
and fall to 3.22 m
2
in 2020.
In Heliopolis, the individual share of green spaces dropped from its highest in 2006
(6.38 m
2
) to 3.52 m
2
in 2020. Heliopolis Heritage Initiative documented the loss of
green spaces with an estimation of 390,000 m
2
of lost green spaces between different
streets and squares in the district [19]. Official data from CCBA shows a different value
for lost green spaces, 272,274 m
2
between the years 2017 and 2020, which is still a sig-
nificant loss that contributed to the individual share of green spaces losing around two-
fifths of its value. East Nasr City also had its highest individual share in 2006 (4.89 m
2
)
which declined in 2020 to be 1.69 m
2
. East Nasr City also lost 311,283 m
2
of its green
spaces between 2017 and 2020 lowering the individual share of green spaces by 25%.
Unequal distribution is found in public parks too despite reopening some closed
CCBA green spaces to be used as public parks (the DG category which added 16 public
9
The NOUH standards are for open spaces not only green spaces which can include sports and youth clubs
and schools, etc. However, to fulfil the standards, their areas should not count for more than half the total
area calculated for open spaces. Private gardens and open spaces cannot be included.
Aly and Dimitrijevic Journal of Engineering and Applied Science (2022) 69:15 Page 12 of 23
parks to Cairo over the years). The standards published by the NOUH mention that
each district should have a district park of at least 21,000 m
2
and that each resident
should access a public green space of at least 12,600 m
2
within 1 km from their homes.
The uneven distribution of green spaces and public parks around the city does not
allow such access for most of Cairos residents. Also, 16 districts out of 37 in Cairo
have no public parks and the area of 27 out of 54 its parks is less than 21,000 m
2
.
Despite the obvious lack of green spaces in Cairo, the existing ones with their limited
areas are often under threat. That is because green spaces have always been the first
victim of urbanisation and infrastructure projects. Projects to widen roads or build ve-
hicle bridges are given priority over protecting green spaces. Examples of these projects
were the construction of the 6th of October bridge, al-Azhar tunnel and widening of
Ramses Street. Also, green spaces can often be sacrificed easily to build new service
and administrative buildings like the loss in areas in al-Azbakiya, and al-Zohryia Parks
[3,5], and other green spaces in Cairo (Fig. 8). Giving priority to other projects over
green spaces indicates a lack of awareness of their importance and the harmful impact
that would result from removing them. More recently, this practice has continued and
major road infrastructure projects have been established in Cairo destroying many of
its green spaces especially in Heliopolis and Nasr City as mentioned earlier (Figs. 9,10
and 11).
Losing green spaces can have major harmful effects on any district and the wellbeing
of its residents. A general decline in the quality of life in Heliopolis district, for ex-
ample, was reported due to the loss of green spaces. Environmental and visual quality
has declined which is worsened by bridges always interrupting visual continuity, the
quality of sidewalks has decreased and crossing the roads for pedestrians became less
safe [8]. A significant increase in traffic accidents was recorded shortly after those de-
velopments. Sidewalks also lost shade which is an important factor for walkability due
to the cutting and uprooting of trees [6].
Infrastructure projects currently dominate the scene in Cairo and keep finding their
way to more of its districts. New projects have been recently announced at al-Nozha
and al-Maadi districts that are expected to change the fabric of another two districts
Fig. 7 Individual share of green spaces in Cairo
Aly and Dimitrijevic Journal of Engineering and Applied Science (2022) 69:15 Page 13 of 23
known for their green spaces. Social media users frequently document the actual or
intentional destruction of green spaces and the cutting of trees in different streets in
Cairo. Recent images showed, for example, partial demolitions and construction work
being carried out at several parks and nurseries. The final status of these interventions
is still not known but if they went through, Cairo would lose at least an additional
124,236 m
2
: 91,920 m
2
at al-Waily district alone (around half the districts green spaces
and total area of Arab al-Mohamdy and al-Waily parks that were handed over from
CCBA to Ain Shams University to be part of its Faculty of Medicine campus), add-
itional 23,100 m
2
at Heliopolis (area of Heliopolis CCBA Nursery) and 9,216 m
2
at Ain
Shams (area of Gesr al-Suez Park and one of only two public parks in the district). This
is in addition to other green spaces and trees that are expected to be lost at al-Maadi
and al-Nozha.
Green spaces and public parks under governmental management also suffer from ser-
ious deterioration in quality and heavy commercialisation. Cairenesaccess to green
spaces and public parks keeps diminishing with the increase in the cost of using public
parks (rise in ticket prices and additional costs for activities inside most parks) and the
closure of other amenity green spaces and public parks (Figs. 12 and 13). Green spaces
are often closed to protect them from being heavily used. Responsible administrations
claim that peoples behaviour in green spaces will make them deteriorate rapidly and
Fig. 8 Change in a green space at al-Abbasiya Square, al-Waily District, Map data © 2021 Google
Aly and Dimitrijevic Journal of Engineering and Applied Science (2022) 69:15 Page 14 of 23
that they do not have sufficient resources to mitigate the damage. In fact, most of these
closed green spaces end up in worse conditions. Public parks that do not bring reason-
able revenue or in districts where residents are known to cause some problems when
using the parks are sometimes decided to be closed or end up being neglected.
Moreover, many of Cairos public parks were managed originally with a minimum en-
trance fee to allow lower-income groups to use them. However, prices kept being raised
because of the economic and social shifts in Egypt and the significant increase in ser-
vices costs in general. According to al-Messiri [3], in 2004, most SG tickets were 1
Egyptian Pound. Seven out of the 23 SG at the time had a ticket half this value because
they were located in lower-income districts. The Aquarium Grotto and al-Fustat Park
tickets were even cheaper; ¼ a Pound. Currently, the ticket price of the SG is 10 Egyp-
tian Pounds, and the DG, al-Fustat Park and the Aquarium Grotto entrance tickets cost
5 Egyptian Pounds. These parks are the cheapest in the city where the cost of a ticket
Fig. 9 al-Mostaqbl Park, Helwan District, Map data © 2021 Google
Aly and Dimitrijevic Journal of Engineering and Applied Science (2022) 69:15 Page 15 of 23
for other parks can reach between 15 to 40 Egyptian Pounds. Not only did tickets
prices rise significantly, but also activities that require additional costs kept increasing
and became the main focus of the management.
Cairo needs to restore the proper role of green spaces and public parks and stop their
continuous loss. An improved public and urban life requires the integration of public
green spaces into the experience of any city. Increasing the number of existing green
spaces and achieving a better distribution throughout the city would reduce the pres-
sure on existing spaces and facilitate access to spaces closer to more residents. Enhan-
cing management and maintenance practices in existing green spaces and public parks
would improve their quality and encourage more people to use them.
Lack and fragmentation of data
Accurate and comprehensive data that document and categorise existing green spaces
are important in supporting planning and decision-making to effectively manage and
develop green spaces [17]. Cairo lacks the support of an accurate publicly accessible
geographical database for all its green spaces areas, locations and categorisation. CCBA
Fig. 10 Intersection of Abbas al-Aqad Street with al-Batrawy Street, Nasr City, Map data © 2021 Google
Aly and Dimitrijevic Journal of Engineering and Applied Science (2022) 69:15 Page 16 of 23
Fig. 11 al-Higaz Square, Heliopolis, Photos by Essam Arafa
Fig. 12 Examples of closed/deteriorated amenity green spaces, Nasr City and al-Mokattam
Aly and Dimitrijevic Journal of Engineering and Applied Science (2022) 69:15 Page 17 of 23
does not have a clear methodology in creating its database. They do not follow up on
yearly changes and take decisions accordingly. Their data also lack a coding for each
green space and its exact location. For any improvement of the current situation in
Cairo, they need to start determining more accurately the green spaces in each district
which will allow better decision-making regarding the required resources, priorities for
intervention and goals for preserving and increasing green spaces. Having accurate data
can also help communicate the problems they face and also follow-up on achievements
or failures in enhancing the quantity of green spaces in each district annually.
CCBA, which is connected to Cairo Governorate, manages most of the green spaces
in Cairo with branches in each of the citys districts. It also manages a number of parks
through its DG Administration. The responsibility for managing other public parks and
types of green spaces lies under several other agencies and administrations. With this
fragmentation of management responsibilities, Cairos green spaces and public parks do
not have a proper classification that reflects their features. They are classified based on
their management authority like SG and DG. The only common factor between most
of these parks is their administration, but they differ in their areas and characteristics.
As a result, green spaces and public parks in Cairo are often isolated from one an-
other and from other functions. They are not managed as a connected network which
undermines their abilities to provide different benefits [17]. Integration between parks
is not found between those under the same management let alone between parks man-
aged by different administrations or between governmental agencies. Different public
entities prefer to define the boundaries of their territories and separate their land uses
Fig. 13 The closed and deteriorated Ain Helwan Park, Helwan DistrictTop images Map data ©
2021 Google
Aly and Dimitrijevic Journal of Engineering and Applied Science (2022) 69:15 Page 18 of 23
from others. So, in Cairos parks fences are found to separate uses that can be inte-
grated which prevents visual continuity and connectivity between uses.
The fragmentation of even adjacent parks led to having a larger number of parks that
are often confined in areas and crowded with activities. For example, at al-Zamalek Is-
land, despite the close proximity of its parks, they are managed individually, and each
requires a separate entrance ticket (Fig. 14). Al-Tyfl and 6th of October Parks contain
libraries that are surrounded inside the parks by their own fences. Libraries and other
public uses, like metro stations, are found also next to some DG but without any
Fig. 14 Fragmentation of Public Parks at al-Zamalek
Aly and Dimitrijevic Journal of Engineering and Applied Science (2022) 69:15 Page 19 of 23
connectivity to the parks. Rod al-Farrag Park is separated from the Culture Centre of
Rod al-Farrag which is a remarkable building that used to be a part of the old market
that the park replaced. Al-Manyal Park is next to Mohammed Aly Palace and gardens,
and they are separated by high walls. Similarly, al-Qasr Park is separated from a nearby
building that could be renovated and integrated with the park use (Fig. 15).
Moreover, the areas of the parks, if Swanwick et al.s[26] classification is followed, do
not also capture the actual use of the parks, their scale of effect or catchment. DG and
Fig. 15 Separation of uses in Cairos public parks
Aly and Dimitrijevic Journal of Engineering and Applied Science (2022) 69:15 Page 20 of 23
SG often have small parks that are better suited to be a public square or a residential
green space. Other parks have wider catchments beyond their area category. These
parks attract users from outside the districts either because of a distinctive feature or
location, for example, the Aquarium Grotto, um-Kulthum and al-Fonon. Accordingly, a
better classification is required that would include all public parks in Cairo.
Finally, dealing with existing data requires close examination in order not to be mis-
led by their interpretation. Kafafy [20] argues that official estimations for green spaces
areas and individual share can be misleading and are not completely reflected in direct
benefits to people living in Cairo. Areas that are calculated in these reports include
areas inaccessible to the public, undeveloped green spaces, in addition to services and
parking areas attached to green spaces [20].
For example, in 2008, Cairo governorate [9] published a report, in collaboration with
CCBA, about green spaces in Cairo. The report included an estimation of 1.82 m
2
/indi-
vidual for the year 2007. It also claimed that the individual share in 1997 was 1.2 m
2
.
However, these numbers are not accurately representing the existing green spaces in
Cairo. The individual share the report mentioned for 1997 is similar to the original in-
dividual share in 2000 mentioned by al-Zafarany [4] indicating that it included youth
centres and sports clubs. If compared with the individual share in 2006, it is unlikely
that it increased from 1.18 to 1.82 m
2
in one year. Also, Shaban [24] showed that the
individual Cairenesshare of green spaces was 1.5 m
2
in 2006. This value is divided be-
tween parks and green spaces, 0.6
10
m
2
/individual, and public clubs and youth centres
0.8 m
2
/individual. This shows how adding areas of youth centres and sports clubs
changes the data significantly.
Examining the boundaries any data represent is important as it could provide misin-
formation as well. The changes in the administrative boundaries of Cairos districts shift
the individual share of green spaces significantly and disparities happen between two
adjacent areas that were considered formally as one district. For example, al-Maadi has
one of the highest individual shares of green spaces in Cairo while Tora is amongst the
lowest. In the early 2000s, they used to be one district. If their share is to be calculated
together for the year 2020, al-Maadi and Tora will have 1.53 m
2
/individual, while each
of them separately has an individual share of 5.27 and 0.09 respectively. Similarly, in
Gharb al-Qahira that has the highest individual share in 2020 (10.04 m
2
), its individual
share would drop to 3.66 m
2
if calculated with Boulaq that has 0.28 m
2
/individual.
Conclusions
For several years, the urban fabric and character of Cairo have significantly changed.
Green spaces have often been the easiest to be sacrificed and replaced with other func-
tions. This article documented the quantities and distribution of green spaces and pub-
lic parks in Cairo trying to shed the light at the critical situation the city currently
faces. Over the years, the quantity and distribution of green spaces and public parks in
Cairo have not complied with the national or international standards. In addition, Cairo
has lost significant quantities of green spaces in the past few years and the quality of
others has seriously deteriorated. Green spaces and public parks in Cairo are managed
10
The value is different from the calculated value in this article because, as mentioned earlier, the calculation
in Shabans[24] thesis excluded some of the districts that were not part of Cairo at the time he did his
investigation.
Aly and Dimitrijevic Journal of Engineering and Applied Science (2022) 69:15 Page 21 of 23
with a very limited perspective of their wide influence and the benefits they can pro-
vide. They are being treated as vacant lands that can be exploited by any means pos-
sible to increase the income they can bring or be easily replaced with other functions.
A more sustainable approach to development and a shift from the current dominating
view of green space as a low priority are required. Otherwise, the downward trend in
green spacesareas and individual share of green spaces will carry on which will con-
tinue to have serious environmental consequences, damaging the image of the city, its
character and the quality of life of its residents. Planning and management of green
spaces in Cairo also require a more integrative approach that starts with creating com-
prehensive data for green spaces including their quantities, distribution and a new cat-
egorisation for their types to support the planning and management of green spaces.
Abbreviations
GOPP: General organisation for physical planning; CAPMAS: Central agency for public mobilization and statistics;
GIS: Geographical information system; CCBA: Cairo cleaning and beautification agency; DG: Distinctive gardens;
SG: Specialised gardens; CPC: Cultural park for children; AKDN: Aga Khan development network; CCCC: Child centre of
civilization and creativity; GCR: Greater Cairo Region; NOUH: National organisation for urban harmony
Supplementary Information
The online version contains supplementary material available at https://doi.org/10.1186/s44147-021-00067-z.
Additional file 1. Supplementary Information.
Acknowledgements
Not applicable.
Authorscontributions
The corresponding author, D.A., collected and analysed the data and wrote the first draft of the article. B.D., the first
supervisor of D.A. PhD, supervised the planned research, reviewed and edited the article. The authors read and
approved the final manuscript.
Funding
The researcher [Dalia Aly] is funded by a full scholarship [MM5/19] from the Ministry of Higher Education of the Arab
Republic of Egypt.
Availability of data and materials
The data relevant to the article are included in tables, graphs and maps within the article and as Supplementary materials.
Declarations
Ethics approval and consent to participate
Not applicable.
Consent for publication
Not applicable.
Competing interests
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Received: 24 August 2021 Accepted: 21 December 2021
References
1. AKDN (2010) Cultural Park for Children. https://www.akdn.org/architecture/project/cultural-park-children. Accessed 6
June 2021
2. AKDN (2018) Creating an Urban Oasis: al-Azhar Park, Cairo, Egypt. https://www.akdn.org/gallery/creating-urban-oasis-al-a
zhar-park-cairo-egypt. Accessed 6 June 2021
3. Al-Messiri N (2004) A Changing Perception of Public Gardens. In: Bianca S, Jodidio P (eds) Cairo: revitalising a historic
metropolis. Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Turin, pp 221233
4. Al-Zafarany A (2004) Existing green areas in Cairo: comparison with planning criteria and international norms. In: Al-
Azhar University Engineering Conference. Al-Azhar University, Cairo
5. Al-Zamley A (2006) Green areas in Cairo. In: Arab Cities Development Conference. The GOPP and the Arab League
Council, Cairo, pp 2426
Aly and Dimitrijevic Journal of Engineering and Applied Science (2022) 69:15 Page 22 of 23
6. Almoghazy A (2020) New roads, bad connections: how new road projects impact the right to the city. In: Altern. Policy
Solut shorturl.at/pzCIZ. Accessed 25 Jul 2021
7. Araby M El (2002) Urban growth and environmental degradation: the case of Cairo, Egypt. Cities 19(6):389400. https://
doi.org/10.1016/S0264-2751(02)00069-0
8. Ashoub S, Elkhateeb MW (2021) Enclaving the city; new models of containing the urban populations: a case study of
Cairo. Urban Plan 6:2022017. https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v6i2.3880
9. Cairo Governorate (2008) Cairo parks. Extended Green. Cairo Governorate, Cairo
10. Cairo Governorate Portal (2021) Statistics and indicators. http://www.cairo.gov.eg/ar/Pages/Statistics.aspx?SubmID=31.
Accessed 18 Feb 2021
11. CAPMAS (2020) Annual statistics book. https://www.capmas.gov.eg/Pages/StaticPages.aspx?page_id=5034. Accessed 15
Aug 2021
12. CAPMAS (2017) Final results of the 2017 general census for population, housing and establishments: population and
housing circumstances. https://www.capmas.gov.eg/Pages/Publications.aspx?page_id=5104&YearID=23401&Year=23598.
Accessed 4 Feb 2021
13. CAPMAS (2008) Final results of the 2006 general census for population and housing circumstances. https://www.capma
s.gov.eg/Pages/Publications.aspx?page_id=5104&YearID=23401&Year=23598. Accessed 4 Feb 2021
14. Egypts Projects Map (2021) Development of Merryland Park. https://egy-map.com/project/ --. Accessed 6
June 2021
15. Evert K-J, Ballard EB, Elsworth DJ et al (eds) (2010) Encyclopedic dictionary of landscape and urban planning. Springer
Berlin Heidelberg, Berlin
16. Farinha-Marques P, Lameiras JM, Fernandes C et al (2011) Urban biodiversity: a review of current concepts and
contributions to multidisciplinary approaches. Innov Eur J Soc Sci Res 24:247271. https://doi.org/10.1080/13511610.2
011.592062
17. Feltynowski M, Kronenberg J, Bergier T et al (2018) Challenges of urban green space management in the face of using
inadequate data. Urban For Urban Green 31:5666. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2017.12.003
18. Gairola S, Noresah MS (2010) Emerging trend of urban green space research and the implications for safeguarding
biodiversity: a viewpoint. Nat Sci 8:4349
19. Harabech H, Farid F (2020) Cairos green lung razed for roads to new desert capital. In: AFP shorturl.at/tAGQZ. Accessed
8 June 2021
20. Kafafy N (2010) The dynamics of urban green space in an arid city: the case of Cairo-Egypt. Cardiff University, Cardiff
21. Karayannis G (2014) Dissecting ISO 37120: Why shady planning is good for smart cities. In: Smart Cities Counc https://
smartcitiescouncil.com/article/dissecting-iso-37120-why-shady-planning-good-smart-cities. Accessed 13 July 2019
22. Lindsey U (2017) The anti-Cairo. Places J. https://doi.org/10.22269/170314
23. Raymond A (2000) Cairo. Harvard University Press, Cambridge
24. Shaban A (2009) Redevelopment of public green spaces network in Cairo City. Cairo University, Cairo
25. SIS (2017) The Aquarium Grotto Park. https://www.sis.gov.eg/Story/115978/ --
---?lang=ar.
Accessed 6 Jun 2021
26. Swanwick C, Dunnett N, Woolley H (2003) Nature, role and value of green space in towns and cities: an overview. Built
Environ 29:94106
27. The GOPP (2012) Greater Cairo urban development strategy, Part 1: Future vision and strategic direction. The GOPP,
Cairo
28. The NOUH (2010) Rules and principles of urban design and landscape of open and green spaces. The NOUH, Cairo
PublishersNote
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Aly and Dimitrijevic Journal of Engineering and Applied Science (2022) 69:15 Page 23 of 23
... Altogether, the paucity of urban green spaces in the arid city of Cairo (Aly and Dimitrijevic, 2022) points to the need to study how easily people can reach such spaces, particularly after the recent major street network modifications. While few studies and official reports argued that the new transport infrastructure changes will reduce traffic accidents (CAPMAS, 2020) and improve access to major urban centers and new satellite cities (Oxford Analytica, 2019), most existing studies confirm that such changes have negative consequences on people and activities (e.g., Ashoub and Elkhateeb, 2021;Elkhateeb, 2020;Shafik et al., 2021). ...
... Despite the growing awareness of the implications of adopting the new transport infrastructure policies, most studies focus on their impact on specific issues, such as social segregation (Ashoub and Elkhateeb, 2021) and access to schools (Shafik et al., 2021), often neglecting access to urban green spaces. Furthermore, research on urban green spaces in Cairo concentrates mainly on their dynamics, in terms of supply and demand (Aly and Dimitrijevic, 2022;Kafafy, 2010), investigating the effects of urban growth on their availability (Megahed et al., 2015;Salem et al., 2020), and investigating interrelations between landscape transformation and socio-cultural perceptions (Keleg et al., 2021). ...
... Public parks are unevenly distributed in the metropolis. Specifically, they are largely concentrated in planned areas where the richest and most educated people live (Aly and Dimitrijevic, 2022). On the other hand, low-and middle-income groups living in informal and less urbanized settlements were more likely to have poor access to these parks and other urban facilities (Tadamun, 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
It is widely accepted that transport infrastructure policies have significant consequences on the environment, housing, business, and people’s everyday movement. With the use of space syntax geometric (sum of angular deviations) and topological (number of directional changes) measures and conventional network metric distance, this article analyses the change in transport infrastructure in Greater Cairo between 2011 and 2021 and quantifies its likely impact on access to 57 public parks. The study advocates for a better understanding of the streetscape changes produced by transport infrastructure policies and how they may impact access to urban green spaces (UGS), particularly parks. The results suggest that the accessibility of 40 parks was reduced at both neighborhood and city-wide scales. Moreover, more than one-quarter of the total study area, including both densely populated marginalized areas and upscale neighborhoods, was significantly negatively affected by streetscape changes. Furthermore, the average distance travelled to parks increased from 3566 (m) in 2011 to 3612 (m) in 2021. These distances are high compared to the few hundred meters recommended in pedestrian accessibility strategies. These findings are not only important for policy makers in Egypt but will also be helpful to other similar contexts around the world by understanding and forecasting the likely implications of design changes and suggesting targeted strategies for improving access to UGS and, in turn, maximizing UGS use rates. In particular, our findings contribute to the debate on the problems caused by inner-city elevated highways. Lastly, this study provides a general analytical framework that can be applied to other cities across the globe to assess the effects of transport infrastructure changes on access to UGS.
... For residents of Cairo, most of these positive influences are not realised. Many residents do not have access to public parks in the districts where they live as the city has an unequal distribution of very low quantity green spaces that are mostly small in area (Aly and Dimitrijevic, 2022). In addition, the poor standard of qualities in the existing parks undermines the realisation of their potential benefits and positive impacts. ...
... Parks in Cairo are separated from surrounding activities which could otherwise be complementary. Uses that could be integrated within the parks, such as libraries, are isolated with fences as a result of being managed by a different governmental agency (Aly and Dimitrijevic, 2022). ...
Article
Purpose This article presents an evaluation tool that is designed to assess 12 spatial and managerial qualities of public parks. The tool is applied in evaluating public parks in Cairo to reveal common management practice issues. Design/methodology/approach Features and factors of the qualities were defined and evaluated. The tool was then tested by conducting an evaluation of 48 public parks in Cairo and consulting local experts regarding the assessment criteria. These contributed to enhancing the tool, making it more comprehensive and contextualised to Cairo. Findings Application of the tool confirms that the tool has the capacity to provide a comprehensive evaluation of a variety of features and can detect key differences between evaluated parks. Analysis highlights that parks in Cairo are not maintained at optimum level and many exhibit serious deterioration that can have negative influences beyond the boundaries of the parks themselves. The majority of these parks also share problems of heavy commercialisation, wasted potentials, fragmentation and separation of uses. Originality/value The evaluation tool provides a new and alternative perspective for the evaluation of the built environment. The tool considers the relationships between the different factors of evaluation, rather than reducing the factors to simple checklists. Managers and other practitioners can use the tool to evaluate existing parks or when designing proposals to achieve better standards in the qualities.
... Green spaces also increase economic vitality as they boost the real estate market in urban areas, highlighting their importance as a tool for improving urban experiences and supporting sustainable development (Haq 2011). However, despite the great importance of green spaces in cities, many cities, especially Global South cities, face numerous challenges and obstacles regarding the integration and supply of green spaces in the ever-growing urban areas and addressing the numerous challenges to maintain the existing ones (Rigolon et al. 2018;Girma et al. 2019;Gelan and Girma 2021;Aly and Dimitrijevic 2022). For a better understanding of environmental problems, scholars have been calling for studying cities as socioecological systems, where humans and nature are considered as interdependent entities that are in a continuous interaction loops (Berkes et al. 2014;Sakai and Umetsu 2014). ...
... The current green space per capita in Greater Cairo Region is only 3 m 2 , as per the governmental documents, which negatively affects the main urban area and quality of life (GOPP et al. 2012). Though Cairo is continuously losing more green spaces in favour of traffic mitigation solutions and infrastructure projects that Cairo's per capita share is calculated to be as low as 0.74 m2 per capita in 2020 (Aly and Dimitrijevic 2022). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the minimum share of green space should be 9 m 2 per capita, with an ideal share of 50 m2 per capita (Russo and Cirella 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
In recent decades, the integration of nature into cities has witnessed a wave of progressive advancement due to the environmental and anthropological disciplines. However, cities still face numerous challenges in terms of providing and maintaining green spaces. Thus, collaboration and partnerships between various stakeholders are being promoted as a possible solution to such a dilemma with a specific focus on community engagement and placemaking. This research examines the gaps triggering the scarce green open space challenge in Cairo, Egypt, as an example of a rapidly urbanising city in the Global South. In contrast to previous research on green spaces in Cairo, the current study investigates the cascade of the different scales and hierarchical levels of strategies as well as stakeholders concerned with green spaces. The results demonstrate the importance of understanding the dynamics and activating stronger networks between different stakeholders, especially on the community scale. The current research also highlights the importance of determining the actual value of green open spaces for various stakeholders as an essential entry point for placemaking. In addition, it is urging considering the multifunctionality of green spaces as a basis for formulating and negotiating an urban greening policy and strategy in Cairo.
... Deterioration of urban quality of life: the urban sprawl resulting from the population growth in the capital caused infringement on environmentally sensitive areas [30] and the persistence of a number of problems pertaining to it, such as environmental pollution [31], traffic congestions [32], brown field areas [33], the deterioration of infrastructure, the deterioration of social amenities, and green areas [34]. The growth in demand for employment in the Egyptian capital resulted in a rise in unemployment rates, along with a number of social issues pertaining to higher poverty, homelessness, and crime rates [23]. ...
Article
Full-text available
In the last decade, the urban management of the Egyptian capital adopted a comprehensive vision for its urban development sectors. Sustainability indicator results issued by a number of international institutions showed that the Egyptian capital’s ranking dropped after applying this vision. This proves that the capital has deviated from the path for which the vision was created. This research aims to build a general framework that supports achieving urban sustainability in the Egyptian capital, periodically assessing its urban policy, and assisting urban decision makers in correcting the course of their policies if necessary. This framework can be built by reviewing the legacy of urban development policies of the Egyptian capital and determine the urban issues the capital is still facing. This framework is also built by studying international practices of cities whose development plans were likewise based on setting a framework that enabled them to assess the success rate of the urban strategies adopted in achieving urban sustainability. From this, we can form the elements of a general framework for achieving urban sustainability of the Egyptian capital. This research identifies these elements as a group of issues, indicators, criteria, principles, and pillars. These elements observe the local context of the Egyptian capital. The selected issues are fitting to the Egyptian capital and its observance of its international responsibilities. These issues are determined by identifying a group of indicators and principles adopted by international institutions and authorities in assessing cities’ progress towards achieving urban sustainability. The results of this research demonstrate how cities work on building their developmental plans, with an approach based on the exchange of knowledge pertaining to the results of different practices, as well as the principles and indicators endorsed by international institutions and authorities, ensures the achievement of urban sustainability.
... For urban populations in Egypt, the dense urban areas' expansions and the population increase lead to a decrease in the per capita share of green areas (Riad et al., 2020;Aly and Dimitrijevic, 2022). This has multiple negative impacts on health and wellbeing that usually improves when having contact with greenery or practicing gardening (Ghanbari, 2015;Soga et al., 2017). ...
Article
Full-text available
The building sector is one of the most resource-intensive industries. In Egypt, buildings consume 60% of electricity, produce 8% of CO 2 emissions, and anthropize agricultural land, peri-urban and urban landscapes. To compensate for these consumption patterns, building envelopes can become productive in terms of greening and energy production. This encompasses the implementation of productive building systems that include (a) greening systems such as building-integrated vegetation and agriculture systems and (b) solar energy systems such as building-applied and integrated photovoltaics. For Egypt, the transformation toward more productive buildings still lacks a holistic understanding of their status and implementation requirements. This paper undergoes a comprehensive analysis of the two systems' classifications, benefits, challenges, and implementation aspects based on a thorough assessment of 121 studies and 20 reports addressing them. This is coupled with a contextual analysis using questionnaires (n = 35) and semi-structured interviews (n = 13) with Egyptian experts and suppliers. Results showed that a large variety of systems is studied in literature and exists in the local market. Among the most purchased productive building systems in the Egyptian market, according to experts, are hydroponics (selected by 75% of respondents), planter boxes/pots (50%), roof-mounted photovoltaic panels (95%), and solar water heaters (55%). The main benefits of greening and solar energy systems are identified as enjoying the greenery view (95%) and reducing energy expenses (100%), respectively. The high initial cost was considered the main barrier for both systems. Multiple commonalities between the two systems in terms of spatial and environmental applicability aspects (e.g., accessibility and safety, net useable area, sun exposure, wind exposure) and environmental performance aspects (e.g., energy demand and emissions reduction, heat flow reduction) were identified. Lastly, we highlight the importance of analyzing integrated solutions that make use of the identified synergies between the systems and maximize the production potentials. CITATION Marzouk MA, Salheen MA and Fischer LK (2022), Functionalizing building envelopes for greening and solar energy: Between theory and the practice in Egypt.
... In some cases, the integration of the tree planting projects within the master plan of cities is also indicated, but details are not easily accessible; for example, for Algiers or Egypt's new administrative capitals. In the case of Egypt, planting trees policies are controversial, and the official data issued by the Egypt Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) estimated a very poor availability of green spaces for the population, and there is the ongoing destruction of trees and removal of green spaces, especially in Cairo, to support motorized traffic and new roads to the new administrative capital [28]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Africa is a particularly vulnerable continent to the effects of climate and environmental changes. Several tree planting projects were launched as one of the plausible solutions to climate action. This paper reviews the recent tree planting projects in African cities, initiated between 2009 to 2021, focusing on analyzing the expected benefits to the populations. Indeed, these projects have become a widespread instrument to promise planning solutions for many African countries given the expected improvements to mitigate air pollution, carbon sequestration, and the conditions of cities for the health and wellbeing of their citizens. The consequences of uncontrolled urbanization in Africa also stress the importance of better planning of green spaces. African cities should reconsider urban planning with a clear focus on the role of green infrastructures because of their extensive social benefits and supportive capacity for any significant sustainable development. While these projects seem to be a promising initiative and are expected to deliver beneficial ecosystem services to citizens, there are still some loopholes that this paper highlights.
Article
Full-text available
Urban areas’ pollution, which is owing to rapid urbanization and industrialization, is one of the most critical issues in densely populated cities such as Cairo. The concentrations and the spatial distribution of fourteen potentially toxic elements (PTEs) in household dust were investigated in Cairo City, Egypt. PTE exposure and human health risk were assessed using the USEPA’s exposure model and guidelines. The levels of As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Mo, Ni, Pb, and Zn surpassed the background values. Contamination factor index revealed that contamination levels are in the sequence Cd > Hg > Zn > Pb > Cu > As > Mo > Ni > Cr > Co > V > Mn > Fe > Al. The degree of contamination ranges from considerably to very high pollution. Elevated PTE concentrations in Cairo’s household dust may be due to heavy traffic emissions and industrial activities. The calculated noncarcinogenic risk for adults falls within the safe limit, while those for children exceed that limit in some sites. Cairo residents are at cancer risk owing to prolonged exposure to the indoor dust in their homes. A quick and targeted plan must be implemented to mitigate these risks.
Article
Full-text available
This article builds on theoretical foundations from enclave urbanism, authoritarian planning and neoliberal urbanisation to explore contemporary socio-spatial transformation(s) happening in Cairo, Egypt. Relying on a nationwide road development project, inner-city neighbourhoods in Cairo are turning into urban enclaves, whereby populations are being separated by a multiplicity of transport-related infrastructure projects. As these rapid planning processes are occurring, our article aims to explain why these developments are crucial and unique in the context of the post-Arab Spring cities. We argue that the new road infrastructure is creating a spatially and socially fragmented city and transforming the urban citizenry into a controllable and navigable body. We use an inductive approach to investigate the effects of the new road infrastructure and its hegemonic outcomes on the city. On a conceptual level, we propose that the enclaving of the city is a containment method that has erupted since the mass mobilisations of the Arab Spring. In doing so, we use qualitative analysis to explain empirical evidence showing how the city is being transformed into nodes of enclaves, where communities are getting separated from one another via socio-spatial fault lines.
Article
Full-text available
It is now abundantly clear that rapid urbanization is greatly transforming the spatial pattern of urban land use worldwide. Consequently, the resulting losses of urban green space at local to global level are continuously altering urban ecosystems. Recent research on this aspect has stressed on the importance of urban green spaces as well as their losses due to rapid urban growth. The importance of ecosystem services provided by urban green spaces for human well-being is gaining recognition and has been highlighted by most of the recent studies. In this short communication, we discuss the emerging trend of urban green space research and its implications for safeguarding biodiversity in line with the declaration by the United Nations that 2010 to be the International Year of Biodiversity. [Nature and Science 2010;8(7):43-49]. (ISSN: 1545-0740).
Article
Effective urban planning, and urban green space management in particular, require proper data on urban green spaces. The potential of urban green spaces to provide benefits to urban inhabitants (ecosystem services) depends on whether they are managed as a comprehensive system of urban green infrastructure, or as isolated islands falling under the responsibility of different stakeholders. Meanwhile, different urban green space datasets are based on different definitions, data sources, sampling techniques, time periods and scales, which poses important challenges to urban green infrastructure planning, management and research. Using the case study of Lodz, the third largest city in Poland, and an additional analysis of 17 other Polish cities, we compare data from five publicly available sources: 1) public statistics, 2) the national land surveying agency, 3) satellite imagery (Landsat data), 4) the Urban Atlas, 5) the Open Street Map. The results reveal large differences in the total amount of urban green spaces in the cities as depicted in different datasets. In Lodz, the narrowly interpreted public statistics data, which are aspatial, suggest that green spaces account for only 12.8% of city area, while the most comprehensive dataset from the national land surveying agency reveals the figure of 61.2%. The former dataset, which excludes many types of green spaces (such as arable land, private and informal green spaces), is still the most commonly used. The analysis of the 17 other cities confirms the same pattern. This results in broader institutional failures related to urban green infrastructure planning, management, and research, including a lack of awareness of green space quality (e.g. connectivity) and benefits (ecosystem services), and the related political disregard for urban green spaces. Our comparison suggests that a better understanding of green space data sources is necessary in urban planning, and especially when planning urban green infrastructure.
Article
A summary of recent research by the Landscape Department at Sheffield University into the role and value of urban parks, play areas and green spaces, the attitudes of people to these spaces, and the ways in which local authorities maintain them reveals that urban green space has the ability to contribute positively to some of the key agendas in urban areas including social inclusion, health, sustainability, and urban renewal.
Article
With the increasing impact of urbanization in the natural ecosystems, urban areas have a key role in the preservation and enhancement of biodiversity. A multidisciplinary review, crossing various approaches to urban biodiversity has been carried out, focusing both on the concepts (fragmentation, species richness, habitat structure, pattern analyses) and the research methods used and their outputs. This opens a discussion in which variables are believed to have a direct influence both on the ecological function of the city and on social aspects such as quality of life and human well-being. This review contributes to a better understanding and promotion of the relationship between biodiversity, spatial form, sustainable design and management within the urban realm, particularly for the academic disciplines involved in such areas of knowledge, planners, designers, managers and decision-makers. This will promote the development of integrated planning and design approaches that promote green structures in the urban realm, according to contemporary social needs and grounded on a deep understanding of urban ecosystems.
Article
The immense growth of cities, especially in developing countries, is resulting in the urbanization of both poverty and environmental degradation to a greater degree than ever before. This paper examines the processes of growth and degradation in the Greater Cairo Metropolitan Region (GCMR), currently the world’s tenth largest mega-city. It reviews the region’s growth and selected environmental issues as well as impacts of current efforts on managing the region. The assertion of this paper is that current management policies and bodies lack a comprehensive view of urban governance for the region, which does not bode well for the future environmental and economic sustainability of the region.
Cultural Park for Children
AKDN (2010) Cultural Park for Children. https://www.akdn.org/architecture/project/cultural-park-children. Accessed 6 June 2021
Creating an Urban Oasis: al-Azhar Park
AKDN (2018) Creating an Urban Oasis: al-Azhar Park, Cairo, Egypt. https://www.akdn.org/gallery/creating-urban-oasis-al-a zhar-park-cairo-egypt. Accessed 6 June 2021
Cairo: revitalising a historic metropolis
  • N Al-Messiri
Al-Messiri N (2004) A Changing Perception of Public Gardens. In: Bianca S, Jodidio P (eds) Cairo: revitalising a historic metropolis. Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Turin, pp 221-233