Research Studio Travels to Egypt


Outlaw Housing: The Excursion
Led by Mark Mack

"In the majority of developing countries the low incomes of many urban households, combined with the high costs of urban land, conspire to make access to affordable, appropriate, and legal housing extremely difficult. In Egypt, the result is that about twenty million people live today in houses that are detrimental to their health and safety. Yet as Egyptianurban centers continue to expand, these problems become more urgent."
Ahmed M. Soliman, Tilting at Sphinxes: Locating Urban Informality in Egyptian Cities 
White Desert
Informal Housing
The studio excursion to Egypt provided the students an intense immersion into the issue of informal and unlawful housing as it is practiced in Egypt, where over 75% of housing produced is informal. The studio visited several areas of interest. First Cairo, with its immense urban density and the informal housing areas along the city's ring road. In addition, the studio visited the low income housing the city of Haram and the high end developer golf course compound of Allegria. 
Informal Housing
The studio was hosted by Professor Basil Kamel from AUC, American University in Cairo which provided housing and transportation. The group was joined by some of their students, who were also studying informal housing in the rural areas of Egypt. Together the group traveled to the white desert where they camped under starry skies and among curious desert foxes. This traveling studio excursion serves as a primer to the problematic of future urban housing, but especially in the centers where rapid growth, expensive urban land and socioeconomic inequality prevail.
Informal Housing
The research conducted is the first part of our larger initiative of exploring informality in housing.  The studio will to explore not only the middle eastern examples throughout the year, but also look at the problem closer to home, in the Tijuana corridor and other rapidly expanding informal developments in Mexico and near the US Mexican Border. By comparing the Middle East and Mexican case studies we hope to canvass a larger and more immediate problem area, veering away from the overstudied examples of the South American Favelas. This global problem becomes more eminent as we approach a seven billion person planet. 
Desert Trip
Desert Camp
Cairo Informal Housing
Informal Housing 
Desert Trip Oasis
Low Cost Housing
Ibn Tolun
Desert Sunrise