Above the Ground
Based on the ingenuity and criticalness by which Cairenes have taken to finding space in which to live, one would imagine that there just is not enough space for everyone. The unfortunate thing is that there is enough housing in this city. But, it is just not affordable. So, I guess there is really not much of a difference. David Sims, an urban planner and economist I met with, differentiates between speculative demand and utility demand. The crazy thing is that in new planned communities on the outside of
The intense quest for space supports many amazing sights. To me, the first noticeable one was the balconies of apartments. Each one is totally different. The buildings become collages of layer and layers of individuality. Some produce a rich formal language, breaking up the monotony of the façade, while others, combined with the scattered and omnipresent satellite dishes and air conditioners produce a more chaotic building expression.
But, beyond the appeal of the formal language, people use their balconies to allow their home to be dynamic and responsive. But, a range of classes have enclosed their balconies, not just the poorest ones. One architect we met with described the balcony enclosure issue as giving poor people no choice. The balcony should be used as an outdoor space for pleasure. But, as the size of an apartment and ability to receive people in a separate room is often a sign of status, people have added on. And unlike in