Cairo Governor Atef Abdel Hamid – File Photo
CAIRO – 30 July 2017: A new decision by Cairo governor, Atef Abdel Hamid, halts building permits in 8 neighborhoods in Cairo for 6 months, according to Al-Waqa'i'a al-Masriya newspaper, effective starting from the date of publication, July 30.
Neighborhoods affected by the decision are: Heliopolis, Al-Nozha, East Nasr City, West Nasr City, Maadi, West Cairo, Zeitoun and El Qobbah.
Atef Amin, an urban activist, commented that the problem with these areas is not the buildings themselves, but rather a problem of overcrowding and poor distribution.
The decision could also be a result of wanting to protect the neighborhoods – a safety measure to avoid the collapse of buildings as well as to allow emergency vehicles to get to the affected areas in a suitable amount of time.
The safety of many buildings has been compromised in recent years as a result of new buildings. In January of 2016, a building collapsed in Minya Al-Qamh due to drilling to establish another building next to it, according to Daily News Egypt. In November of 2015, two buildings collapsed in Fayoum because a bulldozer was operating in the space between them.
“Buildings collapsing in Egypt have increased in recent years due to the local corruption in the country,” Amin said at the time. In light of security instability in recent years, many landowners have started to build illegally in slums and on agricultural lands, compromising proper foundation to avoid detection by officials.
It is also an attempt to protect areas with a “distinct architectural print,” Amin said. “New high rise buildings next to the old ones affect the overall appearance of the area,” he said.
The decision could also be an opportunity to build in desert areas to allow redistribution of the population and create “new cities with proper infrastructure plans.”
“I think this is a good decision,” he said. “I’d like to see the time extended to more than 6 months to allow an engineering committee to review the plan.”