On Thursday, November 12, 2015, the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP) and TADAMUN: The Cairo Urban Solidarity Initiative, co-hosted an event entitled “Urban Inequality: The Case of Cairo.” The three panelists included Kareem Ibrahim, co-director of TADAMUN and co-founder of Takween Integrated Community Development; Reem Abdel Haliem, senior economist on the spatial inequality project at TADAMUN; and Diane Singerman, associate professor in the Department of Government at American University and co-director of TADAMUN. They explained TADAMUN’s focus on social justice and the built environment, the right to the city and the right to adequate housing, and the importance of local governance in urban development. The panelists discussed how the Egyptian government’s longstanding approach to urban policies favors new cities, and explained the important need to focus on the local, neighborhood level in order to understand inequality and the distribution of public services. The panelists also shared tools and findings relevant to the Planning in Justice Project, a joint effort between Takween Integrated Community Development and American University focused on the absence of spatial justice in the distribution of public resources between different urban areas. The initial findings and maps of TADAMUN’s Spatial Inequality project will be open-source and available online within the next few months.
The audience raised questions about the role of international organizations and donors in urban planning and urban development in Egypt, the level of government interest in TADAMUN’s work and TADAMUN’s engagement with government policymakers, and the Egyptian public’s perception of mega-projects.