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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Habitat International
Title Redefining slums in Egypt: Unplanned versus unsafe areas
Volume 35
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
Page numbers 40-49
URL http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Marwa_Khalifa/publication/248524220_Redefining_slums_in_Egypt_Un​planned_versus_unsafe_areas/links/0deec52832e343609a000000.pdf
This paper addresses the crucial need to revisit the criteria for defining ‘slums’ in order to present a more
precise image of existing slums and categorize them according to the severity of risk they pose to human
life and to property, as a means of prioritizing interventions. It reflects on the Egyptian initiative, started
at the outset of 2009, to solve the problematic issue of defining what are called ‘slums’, or ‘informal
settlements’, or ‘Ashwa’iyyat’, by replacing them with two distinctive terms; ‘unplanned areas’ and
‘unsafe areas’. This approach is considered to underpin the identification of priorities for intervention
and drawing up policies and strategies for improving slums’ conditions and the lives of their inhabitants.
The paper sheds light on the findings from a survey carried out by the Informal Settlement Development
Facility (ISDF) in the period from February to May 2009. This attempted, for the first time to identify
unsafe and unplanned areas spatially in all the urban centres in Egypt and classify the former according
to degrees of risk based on certain criteria set by the ISDF. The results show substantial discrepancies
between previous statistics concerning the size of slums and the more recently produced ones. Areas
which are considered unsafe are estimated to contain 1.1 million inhabitants, represents the number of
people in great need of immediate action to improve their living conditions. Such statistics would change
the position of Egypt on the world map of slums.

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