International Development Planning Review

Community development projects in older city districts: User participation mechanisms in Egypt

International Development Planning Review (2002), 24, (3), 299–314.

Abstract

Enabling local communities to participate actively in furthering their communal interests has become a well-established criterion for urban upgrading projects over the last three decades. Funding agencies (international agencies in particular) use this criterion as a prerequisite for funding projects. However, in many urban upgrade projects in less developed countries (LDCs), local community participation is problematic at both legislative and procedural levels. The willingness and ability of the local community to participate, the existence of a formal community enabling mechanism, and even the initial set-up of the project are three issues that are normally overlooked at these levels. Community participation is even more important in local development projects if the local urban heritage attracts national and international interest.This article discusses the theoretical structures of various management mechanisms for urban upgrade projects, considering both the basic conceptual phase and the execution phase. It focuses on project management dynamics in the Egyptian context in terms of user participation techniques and the roles of participants. It relies heavily on data from ongoing upgrading projects in the medina (old quarter) of Cairo—namely the heritage revival projects at Al-Fustat and A'l-el-Beit—in addition to the comprehensive development project in the city of Luxor. It evaluates disjointed site management (DSM) as a creative community participation mechanism during the project execution phase and tries to assess its value for future utilisation. The article concludes with a discussion of user participation mechanisms for community development projects in the context of LDCs.

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Author details

Salah Ouf, Ahmed