Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Subscribe now for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

Physical Transformation of Rural Villages Encompassed into Egyptian City Borders

Physical Transformation of Rural Villages Encompassed into Egyptian City Borders The sprawl of Egyptian cities has lead to the encompassing of adjacent peripheral villages into their urbanized areas. These encompassed villages have been undergoing uncontrolled physical transformations, causing them to lose their original identities but rarely gain full urban ones. This study aims to clarify the physical transformations occurring in such areas, while highlighting anticipated problems in continued uncontrolled transformations, for the purpose of further study on control strategies. A field survey was conducted in the El-Ekhsas neighborhood of El-Minya City, Egypt. Specifically, the study clarified physical transformations by investigating: 1) the changing urban fabric from an organic to more grid-like, and eventually to a random linear structure, 2) the decrease in plot areas due to inheritance practices and a linear subdivision system for agricultural land, and 3) changing trends in building heights and construction materials. The main existing physical problems are then summarized as: 1) inadequacy of street networks concerning vehicle access, 2) incompatibility of decreasing plot areas to the application of planning laws, and 3) lack of maintenance concerning streets, buildings, and infrastructure. Finally, the study suggests the formation of a partnership between villagers and the city government to establish special local bylaws and improvement projects applicable to encompassed villages. Keywords: urban sprawl; urbanization; city planning; Egypt; El-Minya City 1. Introduction Planning) in 2009 (e.g., El-Minya City in Upper Egypt e n c o m p a s s e d f o u r v i l l a g e s ; E l - Z a q a z i q i n L o w e r 1.1 Background 3) Egypt encompassed five villages) . In actuality, the With the extraordinary expansion of Egyptian cities over the last four decades, many peripheral villages proposed plans, with the objective of encompassing and have become tangent and eventually encompassed into converting the villages into urban neighborhoods, only suggested improvement strategies without proposing the urbanized areas of their neighboring cities. These any concrete tools or scenarios for their realization. villages, offering small-sized, cheap land and housing units for low and medium-income city dwellers, have 1.2 Research Problem gradually become natural growth nodes for cities. Urban encompassment and the related processes Furthermore, in the absence of concrete visions for of changing tangent peripheral villages into urban neighborhoods have recently become prevalent in urban planning and development control tools, many physical and social transformations have occurred in many med ium-s ized Eg yp tian cities , r epr es entin g these villages. However, the few previous studies that a real challenge to planners. A review of previous 1), 2) have dealt with this situation in Egypt emphasizes c a s e s o f a d m i n i s t r a t i v e p r o c e s s e s u s e d t o h a n d l e 1) 2) that the pace of transformation and related conflict in encompassment (e.g., the cases of Cairo and Giza , these encompassed villages is more remarkable than in etc.) reveals that villages that have been converted into other, isolated villages, converting such villages into urban neighborhoods, even those converted as long enclaves within matrixes of suburban housing estates. as a century ago, still undergo many random physical transformations. These transformations are practiced Recently, as a step towards the control of their urban development, many of peripheral villages have been at the levels of street networks, block subdivisions, legally integrated into the administrative borders of their and building characteristics that include neither prior neighboring cities through new strategic plans advanced planning nor compliance with city laws. Indeed, the future continuation of such uncontrolled transformations b y t h e G O P P ( G e n e r a l O rg a n i z a t i o n o f P h y s i c a l is expected to result in smaller property areas, higher building heights, higher densities, with increasing car *Contact Author: Amany Nagy Hareedy, Doctoral Candidate, ownership, and the problem of incompatibility of street Graduate School of Human-Environment Studies, Kyushu networks regarding vehicle access. University, 6-10-1 Hakozaki, Fukuoka, 812-8581 Japan As a preliminary step for the improvement projects Tel: +81-92-642-3347 Fax: +81-92-642-3349 suggested by the new strategic plans, the existing E-mail: amany_nagi@yahoo.com physical characteristics, the transformations that have ( Received April 8, 2009 ; accepted March 3, 2010 ) Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering/November 2010/386 379 occurred in such areas, resident requirements, and strategies for conflicts that arise around the issues of 9) suggestions for solutions should first be investigated. agricultural land protection and urban development ; ii) those focusing, mainly through fieldwork, on the 1.3 Definition of Terms actual transformations that have occurred in terms of a) Physical transformation: refers generally to the transformation occurring in the physical structures of land-use, lifestyles, and livelihoods throughout the human settlements; specifically, here it concerns the residential cores of rural settlements encompassed into the urbanized areas of big cities, such as Kuala physical transformations and adaptations that have 1 0 ) 11 ) L u m p u r - M a l a y s i a , D e l h i - I n d i a , S h e n z h e n - occurred in street networks, city blocks, land plots, and 12) 1),2) building characteristics. China , and Greater Cairo-Egypt . Nonetheless, b) Unplanned transformation: sometimes called studies of transformations, and specifically the physical transformations, of such villages encompassed within illegal, informal, or unauthorized transformations, here the urbanized areas of medium-sized cities, are still few. it refers to transformations that follow neither specific plans nor construction laws by changing land uses or This study thus attempts to add to that research. planning requirements. 1.5 Research Objectives c) Rural village: generally defined as the home of This study aims mainly to: 1) examine the physical characteristics and transformations experienced in those engaged in rural occupations tied to the cycles of agricultural life, includes simple traditional culture, the El-Ekhsas neighborhood of El-Minya as a typical small groups of dwellings, and historically has been case of an encompassed village, and 2) identify the 4) ruled by a primitive democracy of the village council . transformation trends, while also indicating the existing a n d e x p e c t e d p r o b l e m s i n t h e c a s e o f c o n t i n u e d Historically, the Egyptian rural village was virtually isolated from the impact of the outside world and uncontrolled transformations, so that our results can distinguished by: i) its natural organic physical structure, be a reference for future strategies to alleviate existing with typically a semi-circular shape, and an organic problems and avoid new ones. 1.6 Research Methodology street network including winding streets and cul-de-sacs (Fig.1.); ii) its economic dependence on the agricultural a) Case study sector; and iii) a social structure dependent on a kin- El-Minya (Fig.3.) was selected as a representative bound society and folk-sustained systems. With the case study for the following reasons: 1) The city has widely practiced unplanned urban expansion on its political and economic changes following the revolution i n 1 9 5 2 , E g y p t i a n r u r a l v i l l a g e s h a v e d r a s t i c a l l y rural peripheries and around its peripheral villages; 2) opened up to modern ideas through the development of The rural areas encompassed within the city's borders 3) transportation, communication, and education facilities . constitute about 40.2% of the city area, and 41.8% of its 13) total population ; 3) It is one of the four medium-sized d ) E n c o m p a s s e d v i l l a g e : r e g a r d i n g t h e s p a t i a l distribution of villages through three tiers surrounding Egyptian cities which have recently experienced an 6) their mother cities (Fig.2.) , here encompassed villages increase in their percentage of population change (Table 14) are considered as those villages located on the first 1.) ; and moreover, among them it had the highest percentage of total urban population in 2006. tier of city's sphere of influence. These villages are 13) almost exposed to city expansion; tend to be more Through a revision of its Strategic Plan in 2009 , comprehensively affected by urbanization flows and, El-Minya has already encompassed a number of rural further, to encompassment processes into city borders. areas (Table 2. and Fig.4.). For our case study, however, w e s e l e c t e d a n a r e a 1.4 Literature Review Table 1. Population Growth of depending on its degree Recent studies that have examined this topic can be Medium-sized Egyptian Cities divided into two groups: i) those focusing on land-use of having the following 7) change using mapping techniques for measuring the main criteria: 1) definite 8) geographic borders, 2) loss rate of agricultural lands caused by the prevalence 9) availability of periodic of informal spontaneous expansions ; and management Fig.1. Physical Structure of Old Fig.2. Village Distribution Fig.3. Map of Egypt Source: CAPMAS- Egypt 2006, and 5) 3) 3) 14) Villages and Their Expansion around El-Minya Showing El-Minya analysis by the researcher 380 JAABE vol.9 no.2 November 2010 Amany Nagy Hareedy Table 2. Rural Areas Encompassed into El-Minya 2. Outline of the City and Study Area 2.1 El-Minya El-Minya, the capital of El-Minya Governorate, lies on a long narrow strip of about 7.5 km of cultivable land along the western bank of the Nile River, about 245 km south of Cairo, with an area of approximately 9.2 2 13) Km and a population of about 239,000 . Through its 15) growth stages , the city encompassed a number of rural settlements (villages and hamlets) that represent about 40.2% of the total city area. As an initial examination of the study area of El-Ekhsas, the physical transformations it has undergone to date are critically analyzed as follows. 2.2 El-Ekhsas Study Area H i s t o r i c a l l y, E l - E k h s a s ( F i g . 5 . ) w a s a s i m p l e , small rural village until it was encompassed within the expanded administrative borders of El-Minya in the early 1970s, which resulted in it being converted into one of El-Minya's neighborhoods. It lies on the northern periphery of El-Minya, bordered by the Nile River on the east, and a cotton ginning factory on the north and west. This factory was recently closed and is to be redeveloped as a residential area. El-Ekhsas is connected with the city by El-Hurria and Omar-Sultan streets; its total expanded area, including its main core and a transitional urban area, is estimated as 20 acres (14 acres for the main core), with a population of 3,621 a c c o r d i n g t o t h e 2 0 0 6 13) census . Nevertheless, El- Ekhsas, and specifically its main core, experienced c h r o n o l o g i c a l p h y s i c a l transformations that were 13) Fig.4. Rural Areas Encompassed into El-Minya principally caused by the establishment of the cotton census classification as a separate urban unit, and 3) g i n n i n g f a c t o r y i n 1 9 3 6 long history of encompassment with which a wide during the British colonial range of transformations is expected. El-Ekhsas not period, as well as the urban only meets these criteria, but it was also the first village e x p a n s i o n o f E l - M i n y a Fig.5. El-Ekhsas Study Area merged into the city borders in the early 1970s; thus it towards the factory. was selected for the study, on the assumption that it is 2.3 Chronological Growth already well consolidated and would be resourceful of The village formation began before the 1930s from many detectable and analyzable transformations. a small built-up area (part A) (Fig.6.a), including light b) Methods structured houses and penetrated by many infill areas, As an analytical study, our research depends on: 1) like many other rural settlements in Egypt during that Literature reviews of research examining the urban time. It was located on the western bank of the Nile, encompassment process of growing cities beyond their s u r r o u n d e d b y t h e D a m a r e e s c a n a l a n d a M u s l i m peripheral villages; 2) Secondary data collection for El- cemetery on the west, and agricultural lands on the Minya and its peripheral villages, including cadastral north, south, and west. The residents were mainly maps for the study area of El-Ekhsas; 3) Primary data villagers who worked on the surrounding agricultural c o l l e c t i o n b y s u r v e y i n g t h e s t u d y a r e a , o b s e r v i n g land. t h e c u r r e n t s t a t e o f b u i l d i n g s , a n d a d m i n i s t e r i n g In 1936, the cotton ginning factory was built on the questionnaires to a sample of 100 heads of households western side of the village. Up until the late 1960s, about to ascertain their social characteristics and opinions 50% of the villagers worked in the factory's different regarding the area's physical structure, transformations, branches; while the village's built-up area expanded problems, and suggestions for solutions; and 4) Data westward forming part B (Fig.6.b). a n a l y s i s u s i n g E x c e l a n d G I S p r o g r a m s , a n d t h e n In the early 1970s, the Damarees canal was filled up p r e s e n t i n g t h e r e s u l t s i n t h e f o r m o f c o r r e l a t i o n s , and replaced by a wide paved street (El-Teraa St.) that diagrams, tables, and indicative maps. connects the two parts, A and B, together. The factory JAABE vol.9 no.2 November 2010 Amany Nagy Hareedy 381 drew a high percentage of the village's labor force until Second, to explain the factors affecting the physical it was closed in the late 1990s; however, the village transformations in the area, part A (the oldest part) is built-up area continued to expand northward into the specifically analyzed at the block subdivision level. agricultural land, forming part C (Fig.6.c). Finally, changing trends in building characteristics are Coinciding with this development, the city expanded analyzed through an examination of all area buildings. northward, encroaching on its agricultural periphery to 3.1 Urban Fabric and Street Network form part D of El-Ekhsas (Fig.6.c), which includes a The urban fabric of El-Ekhsas has witnessed many number of municipal service buildings (e.g., university chronological changes along its three expansions (Table dormitories, the Middle Egypt Mills company, a military 3.). Part A, the original nucleus, is characterized by office, and a bank branch), and other institutional and an organic fabric which characterized most of the old private high-rise housing. Through this transitional Egyptian villages at the time, with narrow winding area (part D), the city became tangent to the village; streets (1-4 m wide), cul-de-sacs, and small urban moreover, the nearby Nile bank was further developed spaces. Expanding westward, part B was developed to create tourism uses. Thus, together with plans for i n a g r i d - l i k e p a t t e r n ( w i t h s t r e e t s 2 - 4 . 5 m w i d e ) , reconstructing the factory as a new residential area, imitating the grid pattern used in urban districts during the village became totally encompassed into the urban the colonial period. Furthermore, its block subdivisions fabric of the city (Fig.7.). followed the linear irrigation system used in these A field survey conducted in the area (from February agricultural lands. Finally, part C, expanded in the 7 t h t o M a r c h 3 r d , 2 0 0 9 ) f o c u s e d o n i t s m a i n c o r e 1 9 7 0 s , i s c h a r a c t e r i z e d b y a r a n d o m l i n e a r f a b r i c (A, B, and C) and found that the area has undergone (streets 3-6 m wide) influenced by the informal random many transformations without regard for city planning expansions that prevailed on the peripheries of most ordinances or constructing laws, in the absence of a Egyptian cities during that time. comprehensive plan and a powerful monitoring system. H e n c e , t h e u r b a n f a b r i c o f E l - E k h s a s , w h i c h developed in an area with neither legal guideline nor 3. Physical Characteristics and Transformations restricted monitoring, naturally simulated those urban To trace the transformations, first the urban fabric of patterns used in Egyptian cities at that particular time the main core parts (A, B, and C) is generally analyzed. in history. Despite its complicated street network, part a. Before the 1930s b. From the late 1930s to the 1960s c. From the early 1970s to the 2000s Fig.6. Chronological Growth of the Study Area Fig.7. Land Uses in Outer Sphere Table 3. Comparison of the Three Parts of El-Ekhsas Main Core in Terms of Urban Fabric Characteristics 382 JAABE vol.9 no.2 November 2010 Amany Nagy Hareedy A provided small but efficient open areas that served as 1) Property inheritance: Property inheritance and the spaces for social communication. On the contrary, in subsequent process of subdivision of one inherited plot spite of their easy accessibility, parts B and C lack such into multiple smaller plots are recognized as the main open spaces apart from their somewhat narrow streets. key factors affecting the geometrical configuration of the For this reason residents ended up using the connecting village fabric. Indeed, 75.6% of the respondents of part streets in ways they were not designed, such as social A own their houses through inheritance. To better show interaction, playing among children, and even animal the impact of this factor, part A was further analyzed. An breeding, all of which resulted in the obstruction of analysis of the subdivision and plot adaptation practiced vehicle access. through the period spanning 1949–2008 revealed eight 3.2 Block Subdivision System types of plot transformation, categorized as shown in Table 4. and Fig.8. P a r t A i s c h a r a c t e r i z e d b y a n i r r e g u l a r c o m p l e x A c c o r d i n g l y, i t c a n b e c o n c l u d e d t h a t a h i g h configuration of block patterns due to random unplanned construction on private agricultural land. On the other percentage of plot transformations occurred (45 % of hand, the blocks of the expanded part B are semi- total cases) as a natural process. The transformations basically followed one of the following four categories rectangular with widths ranging from 21 to 24 m and (based on the above-mentioned eight types) and an variable lengths. Similarly, the blocks of part C are a mix of randomly constructed and semi-rectangular additional fifth, "Unchanged" category (Table 5.): blocks. The physical transformations, which occurred a) Subdividing original plots: includes constructing according to the adaptations made within the original of private cul-de-sacs and subdividing plots into plots and also the common methods of subdividing rural number of smaller plots directly connected with a properties, can be summarized as the result of the two local or main street (categories 1, 2, 2'), comprising following factors: 25% of total cases; b) Re-subdividing original plots: involves merging a set of plots into one plot, and Table 4. Main Types of Plot Transformations in Part A Fig.8. Part A of El-Ekhsas Showing the Plot Transformation Methods Used Between 1949-2008 JAABE vol.9 no.2 November 2010 Amany Nagy Hareedy 383 then re-subdividing it (categories 3, 3'), comprising 7 of buildings were constructed before the encompassment % of total cases; c) Merging original plots: Includes period (pre-1970), and that 54 % were constructed during the period (Fig.10.). However, both of these occasional adding of additional areas (categories 4, 4'), b u i l d i n g g r o u p s w e r e e x a m i n e d t o d e t e r m i n e t h e comprising 6% of total cases; d) New housing plots or expansion of original ones (category 5), comprising 7 changing trends of their characteristics before and after % of total cases; and e) Unchanged plots, comprising encompassment, specifically in terms of: 55 % of total cases. 1) Changing height trends 2) Linear subdivision of agricultural lands: Fig.11. shows that about 31 % of all buildings have 1 or 2 floors, 50 % have 3 floors, and 19 % have 4 floors Following the land reform laws enacted in the 1950s, the small areas of properties combined with a linear or more. By analyzing the buildings, more than 40 irrigation system for agricultural lands influenced the years old (i.e., built before 1970) (Fig.12.), it is found urban form of expanded built-up areas, as evidenced that 41 % have heights of 1 to 2 floors, 51% have 3 floors, and just 8% have 4 floors. Accordingly, it can in parts B and C. Villagers first divided their land into blocks, ranging between 21and 24 m wide, and then be concluded that the prevailing trend at the time was they divided the blocks further into smaller lots using to construct buildings of low height (1-2 floors), with narrow irrigation canals (1-3 m wide) as streets by filling subsequent changes in some buildings in the form of raising their height by one floor, or more rarely, two them up. The lot areas ranged between 60 and 100 m , and in some cases the size was affected by inheritance floors. On the other hand, about 22 % of buildings built practices, either by splitting a lot into smaller lots or by after encompassment are 1-2 floors in height, 49 % are combining smaller lots into a bigger one. Such lots were 3 floors, and 29% are 4 floors or more. Thus, a changing trend toward an increase in building heights to more usually transferred to successors by inheritance or by sale to other villagers or middle-income class citizens than 3 floors can be seen after encompassment. (Fig.9.). 2) Changing constructing material trends Hence, all such transformations led to an overall F i g . 1 3 . s h o w s t h a t 3 9 % o f a l l b u i l d i n g s w e r e d e c r e a s e i n t h e a r e a s o f i n d i v i d u a l p r o p e r t i e s . constructed using mud walls and wooden ceilings, Indeed, this fact was mentioned by about 64 % of the 36 % using bearing walls, and 25 % using reinforced questionnaire respondents as the most problematic structures. By comparing the buildings' ages and their issue in applying construction laws in cases of new construction materials (Fig.14.), it is found that the construction projects. About 46.3 % of all plots in the prevailing trend before encompassment was construction area are equal to or less than 50 m , 30.2 % fall between using mud and wood (73% of all buildings before 2 2 50.01-75 m , 13.3 % between 75.01-100 m , and 10.2 % encompassment); whereas during the encompassment are more than 100 m (Table 6.). period the trend changed to an increase in construction 3.3 Changing Trends in Building Characteristics u s i n g r e i n f o r c e d c o n c r e t e ( 4 5 % o f t o t a l b u i l d i n g s following encompassment). This trend has recently been An analysis of building characteristics in the main the norm in many Egyptian villages. Additionally, as core of El-Ekhsas (A, B, and C) reveals that about 46 % Table 5. Percentages of Main Types of Plot Transformation Cases in Part A* a. Subdividing original plots b. Re-subdividing original plots c. Merging original plots d. New plots Cases of e. No (1) Subdividing (2) Simple (2’) Simple (3) Merging (3’) Merging and (4) (4’) Simple (5) Expanding plot change with constructing subdivisions subdivisions with and re- re-subdividing with Simple merging with plots/ new transformation private cul-de-sacs additional area subdividing additional area merging additional area plots No. of cases 8 25 3 9 2 7 2 10 82 (148 cases) 6% 17% 2% 6% 1% 5% 1% % of total cases 7% 55% 25% 7% 6% a. Before the 1930s b. From the late 1930s to the 1960s c. From the early 1970s to the 2000s Fig.9. Impact of an Irrigation System on Block Transformations in Part B of El-Ekhsas * Table 6. Percentages of Plot Area in the Main Core (Parts A, B, C) 2 2 ≤ 50 m > 100 m 50.01-75 75.01-100 Plot Area ≤ 25 25.01- 100.01- 125.01- 150.01- 200.01- 2 2 m m > 300 m 2 2 2 2 2 2 m 50 m 125 m 150 m 200 m 300 m No. of plots ( 549 ) 24 230 166 73 22 16 8 5 5 4.4 41.9 30.2 13.3 4 2.9 1.5 0.9 0.9 % of total plots 46.30% 30.20% 13.30% 10.20% Fig.10. Age of Fig.11. Building * Note: Parts A and B are referred in Fig.6. Construction Height 384 JAABE vol.9 no.2 November 2010 Amany Nagy Hareedy Fig.13. Fig.15. Building Fig.12. Changing Trends in Building Construction Condition Fig.14. Changing Trends in Construction Height after Encompassment Materials Materials after Encompassment shown in Fig.15., the high percentages of good (30 % were constructed without regard to these laws. of total buildings) and average conditioned buildings (32%), emphasizes the sequential transformations that 4. Physical Problems and Resident Requirements have been accelerated by modernization, natural growth, A c c o r d i n g t o o u r a n a l y s i s u s i n g r e s i d e n t increased needs for housing, and the dominance of questionnaire, the existing physical problems (Fig.17.) private ownership of properties. of the area were identified; specifically, the problems 3.4 Planning and Construction Laws Till 2008 pertained to: S i n c e E l - E k h s a s b e c a m e o n e o f t h e c i t y ' s 4.1 Street Network neighborhoods in the early 1970s, its urban development The narrow width of the street network in El-Ekhsas has officially been under the jurisdiction of city planning was noted by about 44% of the respondents as one of 1 6 ) l a w N o . 3 / 1 9 8 2 a n d b u i l d i n g r e g u l a t i n g l a w N o . the area's problematic physical issues. Except for its 17) 106/1976 and its amendments in 1996 ; these laws main street "El-Teraa St.", the street network has widths ranging from 1.5 to 4 m, with occasional winding streets included the following stipulations: 1 ) R e g a r d i n g t h e s t re e t n e t w o r k : C o n s t r u c t i o n and dead ends, especially in the older part A. Such works facing streets less than 6 m wide are not allowed. narrow streets widths are incompatible with modern O t h e r w i s e , t h e motor transportation and emergency vehicles in terms of building must be set accessibility (Fig.18.-a). Moreover, 51% of respondents back by a distance complained of the lack of street maintenance (Fig.18.-b), e q u a l t o h a l f t h e 16% complained of the lack of a garbage disposal difference between s y s t e m , a n d 3 3 % c o m p l a i n e d o f s m a l l o r n o o p e n Fig.16. Law Article for Street Widening 6 m and the original spaces. street width (Fig.16.). 4.2 Plots (Block Subdivisions) 2) Regarding the block subdivisions: Each plot of T h e c o n t i n u o u s d i v i s i o n o f o r i g i n a l p l o t s b y land to be subdivided into more than 2 sub-plots must expanding families due to the previously mentioned meet the following requirements: inheritance practices has resulted in the formation of a) 1/3 of the land area must be allocated for roads, small property areas, some as small as 20 m . This issue squares, and public parks. was noted by 64% of respondents as a problem which b) Each piece of the divided land must face at least forces them not to comply with construction laws in the one street (not less than 6 m wide). case of reconstructing on their land (Fig.18.-c). c) Enclosed areas of buildings must not exceed 60% 4.3 Buildings and Infrastructure of the plot, and the open built areas (terraces, stairs, Despite significant improvements in their conditions and building entrances) may only extend for 10% of a and amenities, the buildings of El-Ekhsas still lag behind building's enclosed area. This includes the possibility of those of other middle-class neighborhoods in the city. exceptions in exceeding this percentage in some cases This is observed from the state of building deterioration, according to the discretion of local authorities. their lack of both maintenance and facade paintings (29% 3) Regarding buildings characteristics: of responses) (Fig.18.-d, e), bad natural ventilation a) Building height must not exceed 1.5 times the (11%). (9%), and bad distribution of house elements street width, with a maximum height of 36 m (in critical cases the Prime Minister has the right to minimize or maximize this height in special city areas). b) Building owners must provide a sufficient number of elevators for buildings whose top floor exceeds 16 m aboveground, with a sufficient number and area of parking spaces. c) Any additional constructions, changes, or facade paintings are not allowed until permission is obtained from the local authority. However, our field survey found that most buildings located specifically within the inner parts of the area Fig.17. Questionnaire Results about Existing Physical Problems JAABE vol.9 no.2 November 2010 Amany Nagy Hareedy 385 I n a d d i t i o n , s e v e r a l n e g a t i v e i s s u e s r e q u i r i n g intervention at both the city and village levels were also observed, such as: a) the narrow widths of streets for vehicle access, and the inappropriateness of current construction laws related to street widening in light of the existing situation; b) the small plot sizes which further a. Narrow b. Lack of street c. Small areas d. Lack of e. Disordered encourage owners to refrain from obeying the law; and width of street maintenance of plots building replacements network maintenance c) the deterioration and lack of maintenance of built up Fig.18. Existing Physical Problems in El-Ekhsas, El-Minya areas due to both weak governmental intervention and a lack of resident awareness concerning their role in such Additionally, El-Ekhsas still retains a gap in quality level in improvement projects. terms of infrastructure and services, compared with those Thus, in light of the expected exacerbation of the provided to the other middle-class neighborhoods of the above problems, this study concludes by stressing the city. This view was supported by 33% of the respondents importance of establishing partnerships between local who complained of bad sanitation maintenance, water residents and the city government within the framework shortages, and occasional power interruption. of the Egyptian city planning system. Such partnerships By revising the current planning and construction laws, should work in parallel in two directions. The first is and in light of the prevalence of narrow streets and small to study such conflicts to obtain a consensus about the property areas, it can be argued that: suggested local bylaws that incorporate the interests of 1) It is difficult for owners to set back their buildings by both villagers and city planners regarding, for example, a depth equal to half the difference between the required the minimum requirements for vehicle street widths, 6 m and the original street width; because the usable area building heights, and the minimum dimensions of plot of small sized plots will decrease sharply; 2) The areas' subdivisions. The second is to promote improvement unique building floor ratio, which reaches nearly 100%, projects for mitigating existing problems after raising makes it difficult for owners to comply with the law resident awareness by educating them on the importance requiring such ratios to be 60%. Furthermore, due to the of such projects and their participatory role in them. expected sharp decrease in the built areas, many owners refrain from obeying such construction laws. References Hence, and in the case of continued neglect of these 1) Elzawahry, A. (1991) Encompassed Rural Villages into Cities; Special problems without coming up with practical solutions, Concern with Greater Cairo, Un-published master thesis. Architecture Department, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University. increased building heights will combine with increased 2) Sadek, A. (1989) Rural Areas Encompassed by Urban Areas; A Case of densities to create even worse living environments, Giza Governorate, Un-published master thesis. Department of Architecture, resulting in a disordered and degraded urban fabric. Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University. 3) Hareedy, A. and Deguchi, A. (2009) Rural Villages Encompassed into R e f e r r i n g t o t h e q u e s t i o n n a i r e r e s u l t s , r e s i d e n t s Urbanized Areas of Egyptian Developing Cities. Journal of Architecture and noted that they require the following from future urban Urban Design, Kyushu Univ., Vol.16, pp.47-59. 4) Encyclopedia Britannica. Rural village definition. Available at: http://www. planning efforts: 1) softening of existing construction britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/629051/village. laws to be more practical, 2) providing loans for people 5) ESA, Egyptian Survey Authority (2009) Maps for Old Delta Villages. to reconstruct and maintain dilapidated buildings, 3) 6) Ragih, A. (2007) Egypt Urbanization; detecting the urban transformation of Egypt through the End of the Twentieth Century and Exploring its excluding bakery shops from residential cores to mitigate Future Directions until 2020. Published book, part 1. Cairo: the Academic congestion and noise, 4) improving infrastructure, 5) Bookshop. providing governmental projects for street maintenance, 7) S a x e n a , A ( 2 0 0 3 ) R e m o t e S e n s i n g & G I S i n a s s e s s i n g p h y s i c a l transformation of Bhopal city, India. Map Asia Conference, pp.1-6. 6) providing a garbage disposal system, 7) moving the 8) El-Hefnawi, A. (2005) Protecting Agricultural Land from Urbanization or animal breeding areas out away from the residential areas. 'Managing' the Conflict between Informal Urban Growth While Meeting the Demands of the Communities. Third Urban Research Symposium on Land Development, Urban Policy and Poverty Reduction, Brasilia, DF, Brazil, 5. Conclusion pp.1-11. Available at: http://www.worldbank.org/urban/symposium2005/ papers/elhefnawi.pdf. This study examined the physical transformations 9) Soliman, A. (2004) A Possible Way Out; Formalizing Housing Informality practiced in the El-Ekhsas area of El-Minya City as a in Egyptian Cities. Published Book, New York: Oxford University press of representative example of a rural area encompassed into America, pp.43-45. 10) Brookfield, H.; Hadi, A. and Mahmud, Z. (1991) The City in the Village; the urbanized areas of an Egyptian city. the In-situ Urbanization of Villages; Villagers and their Land around Kuala- B a s e d o n a f i e l d o b s e r v a t i o n , a n d t h e r e s u l t s o f Lumpur, Malaysia. Published Book, New York: Oxford University Press. the conducted questionnaire in El-Ekhsas, the study 11) Bentinck, J. V. (2000) Unruly Urbanization of Delhi's Fringe; Changing Patterns of Land- use and Livelihood, Doctor dissertation, Faculty of Spatial has highlighted several issues regarding the physical Sciences, University of Groningen, Netherlands. characteristics and transformations in the area including: 12) Hang, M. (2006) "Villages" in Shenzhen, Doctor engineer dissertation, Faculty of Architecture, Bauhaus University, Germany. a) chronological changes in its urban expansion, that 13) GOPP The General Organization of Physical Planning (2009) The General is, from organic to grid-like, and then to random linear, Strategic and Detailed Plan of El-Minya City, El-Minya Governorate, The w i t h t h e d i s a p p e a r a n c e o f o p e n s p a c e s w i t h i n n e w final report, pp.106-135. 14) CAPMAS Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics- Egypt expansions, b) the effects of both property inheritance (2006) Egypt Population and Housing Census. practices and a linear subdivision system for agricultural 15) Hareedy, A. and Deguchi, A. (2009) Urban Expansion Issues of Medium- land on the sequential transformations of plots that led Sized Egyptian Cities; The Case of El-Minya City. Journal of Habitat Engineering, Vol.1, pp.35-49. to a decrease in their average areas, and c) an increasing 16) The General Authority for Urban Planning, Egypt (2006) The urban trend of building heights becoming more than three planning law no.3/1982 in Egypt. 17) Prime Minister's Office (1996) The Building regulating law no.106/1976 in floors following the encompassment period, as well as an Egypt. Available at: http://www.eltoukhy.com/law/2.htm. increasing trend of using reinforced concrete structures. 386 JAABE vol.9 no.2 November 2010 Amany Nagy Hareedy http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering Taylor & Francis

Physical Transformation of Rural Villages Encompassed into Egyptian City Borders

Loading next page...
 
/lp/taylor-francis/physical-transformation-of-rural-villages-encompassed-into-egyptian-v0CSnMP0cp

References (19)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2018 Architectural Institute of Japan
ISSN
1347-2852
eISSN
1346-7581
DOI
10.3130/jaabe.9.379
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The sprawl of Egyptian cities has lead to the encompassing of adjacent peripheral villages into their urbanized areas. These encompassed villages have been undergoing uncontrolled physical transformations, causing them to lose their original identities but rarely gain full urban ones. This study aims to clarify the physical transformations occurring in such areas, while highlighting anticipated problems in continued uncontrolled transformations, for the purpose of further study on control strategies. A field survey was conducted in the El-Ekhsas neighborhood of El-Minya City, Egypt. Specifically, the study clarified physical transformations by investigating: 1) the changing urban fabric from an organic to more grid-like, and eventually to a random linear structure, 2) the decrease in plot areas due to inheritance practices and a linear subdivision system for agricultural land, and 3) changing trends in building heights and construction materials. The main existing physical problems are then summarized as: 1) inadequacy of street networks concerning vehicle access, 2) incompatibility of decreasing plot areas to the application of planning laws, and 3) lack of maintenance concerning streets, buildings, and infrastructure. Finally, the study suggests the formation of a partnership between villagers and the city government to establish special local bylaws and improvement projects applicable to encompassed villages. Keywords: urban sprawl; urbanization; city planning; Egypt; El-Minya City 1. Introduction Planning) in 2009 (e.g., El-Minya City in Upper Egypt e n c o m p a s s e d f o u r v i l l a g e s ; E l - Z a q a z i q i n L o w e r 1.1 Background 3) Egypt encompassed five villages) . In actuality, the With the extraordinary expansion of Egyptian cities over the last four decades, many peripheral villages proposed plans, with the objective of encompassing and have become tangent and eventually encompassed into converting the villages into urban neighborhoods, only suggested improvement strategies without proposing the urbanized areas of their neighboring cities. These any concrete tools or scenarios for their realization. villages, offering small-sized, cheap land and housing units for low and medium-income city dwellers, have 1.2 Research Problem gradually become natural growth nodes for cities. Urban encompassment and the related processes Furthermore, in the absence of concrete visions for of changing tangent peripheral villages into urban neighborhoods have recently become prevalent in urban planning and development control tools, many physical and social transformations have occurred in many med ium-s ized Eg yp tian cities , r epr es entin g these villages. However, the few previous studies that a real challenge to planners. A review of previous 1), 2) have dealt with this situation in Egypt emphasizes c a s e s o f a d m i n i s t r a t i v e p r o c e s s e s u s e d t o h a n d l e 1) 2) that the pace of transformation and related conflict in encompassment (e.g., the cases of Cairo and Giza , these encompassed villages is more remarkable than in etc.) reveals that villages that have been converted into other, isolated villages, converting such villages into urban neighborhoods, even those converted as long enclaves within matrixes of suburban housing estates. as a century ago, still undergo many random physical transformations. These transformations are practiced Recently, as a step towards the control of their urban development, many of peripheral villages have been at the levels of street networks, block subdivisions, legally integrated into the administrative borders of their and building characteristics that include neither prior neighboring cities through new strategic plans advanced planning nor compliance with city laws. Indeed, the future continuation of such uncontrolled transformations b y t h e G O P P ( G e n e r a l O rg a n i z a t i o n o f P h y s i c a l is expected to result in smaller property areas, higher building heights, higher densities, with increasing car *Contact Author: Amany Nagy Hareedy, Doctoral Candidate, ownership, and the problem of incompatibility of street Graduate School of Human-Environment Studies, Kyushu networks regarding vehicle access. University, 6-10-1 Hakozaki, Fukuoka, 812-8581 Japan As a preliminary step for the improvement projects Tel: +81-92-642-3347 Fax: +81-92-642-3349 suggested by the new strategic plans, the existing E-mail: amany_nagi@yahoo.com physical characteristics, the transformations that have ( Received April 8, 2009 ; accepted March 3, 2010 ) Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering/November 2010/386 379 occurred in such areas, resident requirements, and strategies for conflicts that arise around the issues of 9) suggestions for solutions should first be investigated. agricultural land protection and urban development ; ii) those focusing, mainly through fieldwork, on the 1.3 Definition of Terms actual transformations that have occurred in terms of a) Physical transformation: refers generally to the transformation occurring in the physical structures of land-use, lifestyles, and livelihoods throughout the human settlements; specifically, here it concerns the residential cores of rural settlements encompassed into the urbanized areas of big cities, such as Kuala physical transformations and adaptations that have 1 0 ) 11 ) L u m p u r - M a l a y s i a , D e l h i - I n d i a , S h e n z h e n - occurred in street networks, city blocks, land plots, and 12) 1),2) building characteristics. China , and Greater Cairo-Egypt . Nonetheless, b) Unplanned transformation: sometimes called studies of transformations, and specifically the physical transformations, of such villages encompassed within illegal, informal, or unauthorized transformations, here the urbanized areas of medium-sized cities, are still few. it refers to transformations that follow neither specific plans nor construction laws by changing land uses or This study thus attempts to add to that research. planning requirements. 1.5 Research Objectives c) Rural village: generally defined as the home of This study aims mainly to: 1) examine the physical characteristics and transformations experienced in those engaged in rural occupations tied to the cycles of agricultural life, includes simple traditional culture, the El-Ekhsas neighborhood of El-Minya as a typical small groups of dwellings, and historically has been case of an encompassed village, and 2) identify the 4) ruled by a primitive democracy of the village council . transformation trends, while also indicating the existing a n d e x p e c t e d p r o b l e m s i n t h e c a s e o f c o n t i n u e d Historically, the Egyptian rural village was virtually isolated from the impact of the outside world and uncontrolled transformations, so that our results can distinguished by: i) its natural organic physical structure, be a reference for future strategies to alleviate existing with typically a semi-circular shape, and an organic problems and avoid new ones. 1.6 Research Methodology street network including winding streets and cul-de-sacs (Fig.1.); ii) its economic dependence on the agricultural a) Case study sector; and iii) a social structure dependent on a kin- El-Minya (Fig.3.) was selected as a representative bound society and folk-sustained systems. With the case study for the following reasons: 1) The city has widely practiced unplanned urban expansion on its political and economic changes following the revolution i n 1 9 5 2 , E g y p t i a n r u r a l v i l l a g e s h a v e d r a s t i c a l l y rural peripheries and around its peripheral villages; 2) opened up to modern ideas through the development of The rural areas encompassed within the city's borders 3) transportation, communication, and education facilities . constitute about 40.2% of the city area, and 41.8% of its 13) total population ; 3) It is one of the four medium-sized d ) E n c o m p a s s e d v i l l a g e : r e g a r d i n g t h e s p a t i a l distribution of villages through three tiers surrounding Egyptian cities which have recently experienced an 6) their mother cities (Fig.2.) , here encompassed villages increase in their percentage of population change (Table 14) are considered as those villages located on the first 1.) ; and moreover, among them it had the highest percentage of total urban population in 2006. tier of city's sphere of influence. These villages are 13) almost exposed to city expansion; tend to be more Through a revision of its Strategic Plan in 2009 , comprehensively affected by urbanization flows and, El-Minya has already encompassed a number of rural further, to encompassment processes into city borders. areas (Table 2. and Fig.4.). For our case study, however, w e s e l e c t e d a n a r e a 1.4 Literature Review Table 1. Population Growth of depending on its degree Recent studies that have examined this topic can be Medium-sized Egyptian Cities divided into two groups: i) those focusing on land-use of having the following 7) change using mapping techniques for measuring the main criteria: 1) definite 8) geographic borders, 2) loss rate of agricultural lands caused by the prevalence 9) availability of periodic of informal spontaneous expansions ; and management Fig.1. Physical Structure of Old Fig.2. Village Distribution Fig.3. Map of Egypt Source: CAPMAS- Egypt 2006, and 5) 3) 3) 14) Villages and Their Expansion around El-Minya Showing El-Minya analysis by the researcher 380 JAABE vol.9 no.2 November 2010 Amany Nagy Hareedy Table 2. Rural Areas Encompassed into El-Minya 2. Outline of the City and Study Area 2.1 El-Minya El-Minya, the capital of El-Minya Governorate, lies on a long narrow strip of about 7.5 km of cultivable land along the western bank of the Nile River, about 245 km south of Cairo, with an area of approximately 9.2 2 13) Km and a population of about 239,000 . Through its 15) growth stages , the city encompassed a number of rural settlements (villages and hamlets) that represent about 40.2% of the total city area. As an initial examination of the study area of El-Ekhsas, the physical transformations it has undergone to date are critically analyzed as follows. 2.2 El-Ekhsas Study Area H i s t o r i c a l l y, E l - E k h s a s ( F i g . 5 . ) w a s a s i m p l e , small rural village until it was encompassed within the expanded administrative borders of El-Minya in the early 1970s, which resulted in it being converted into one of El-Minya's neighborhoods. It lies on the northern periphery of El-Minya, bordered by the Nile River on the east, and a cotton ginning factory on the north and west. This factory was recently closed and is to be redeveloped as a residential area. El-Ekhsas is connected with the city by El-Hurria and Omar-Sultan streets; its total expanded area, including its main core and a transitional urban area, is estimated as 20 acres (14 acres for the main core), with a population of 3,621 a c c o r d i n g t o t h e 2 0 0 6 13) census . Nevertheless, El- Ekhsas, and specifically its main core, experienced c h r o n o l o g i c a l p h y s i c a l transformations that were 13) Fig.4. Rural Areas Encompassed into El-Minya principally caused by the establishment of the cotton census classification as a separate urban unit, and 3) g i n n i n g f a c t o r y i n 1 9 3 6 long history of encompassment with which a wide during the British colonial range of transformations is expected. El-Ekhsas not period, as well as the urban only meets these criteria, but it was also the first village e x p a n s i o n o f E l - M i n y a Fig.5. El-Ekhsas Study Area merged into the city borders in the early 1970s; thus it towards the factory. was selected for the study, on the assumption that it is 2.3 Chronological Growth already well consolidated and would be resourceful of The village formation began before the 1930s from many detectable and analyzable transformations. a small built-up area (part A) (Fig.6.a), including light b) Methods structured houses and penetrated by many infill areas, As an analytical study, our research depends on: 1) like many other rural settlements in Egypt during that Literature reviews of research examining the urban time. It was located on the western bank of the Nile, encompassment process of growing cities beyond their s u r r o u n d e d b y t h e D a m a r e e s c a n a l a n d a M u s l i m peripheral villages; 2) Secondary data collection for El- cemetery on the west, and agricultural lands on the Minya and its peripheral villages, including cadastral north, south, and west. The residents were mainly maps for the study area of El-Ekhsas; 3) Primary data villagers who worked on the surrounding agricultural c o l l e c t i o n b y s u r v e y i n g t h e s t u d y a r e a , o b s e r v i n g land. t h e c u r r e n t s t a t e o f b u i l d i n g s , a n d a d m i n i s t e r i n g In 1936, the cotton ginning factory was built on the questionnaires to a sample of 100 heads of households western side of the village. Up until the late 1960s, about to ascertain their social characteristics and opinions 50% of the villagers worked in the factory's different regarding the area's physical structure, transformations, branches; while the village's built-up area expanded problems, and suggestions for solutions; and 4) Data westward forming part B (Fig.6.b). a n a l y s i s u s i n g E x c e l a n d G I S p r o g r a m s , a n d t h e n In the early 1970s, the Damarees canal was filled up p r e s e n t i n g t h e r e s u l t s i n t h e f o r m o f c o r r e l a t i o n s , and replaced by a wide paved street (El-Teraa St.) that diagrams, tables, and indicative maps. connects the two parts, A and B, together. The factory JAABE vol.9 no.2 November 2010 Amany Nagy Hareedy 381 drew a high percentage of the village's labor force until Second, to explain the factors affecting the physical it was closed in the late 1990s; however, the village transformations in the area, part A (the oldest part) is built-up area continued to expand northward into the specifically analyzed at the block subdivision level. agricultural land, forming part C (Fig.6.c). Finally, changing trends in building characteristics are Coinciding with this development, the city expanded analyzed through an examination of all area buildings. northward, encroaching on its agricultural periphery to 3.1 Urban Fabric and Street Network form part D of El-Ekhsas (Fig.6.c), which includes a The urban fabric of El-Ekhsas has witnessed many number of municipal service buildings (e.g., university chronological changes along its three expansions (Table dormitories, the Middle Egypt Mills company, a military 3.). Part A, the original nucleus, is characterized by office, and a bank branch), and other institutional and an organic fabric which characterized most of the old private high-rise housing. Through this transitional Egyptian villages at the time, with narrow winding area (part D), the city became tangent to the village; streets (1-4 m wide), cul-de-sacs, and small urban moreover, the nearby Nile bank was further developed spaces. Expanding westward, part B was developed to create tourism uses. Thus, together with plans for i n a g r i d - l i k e p a t t e r n ( w i t h s t r e e t s 2 - 4 . 5 m w i d e ) , reconstructing the factory as a new residential area, imitating the grid pattern used in urban districts during the village became totally encompassed into the urban the colonial period. Furthermore, its block subdivisions fabric of the city (Fig.7.). followed the linear irrigation system used in these A field survey conducted in the area (from February agricultural lands. Finally, part C, expanded in the 7 t h t o M a r c h 3 r d , 2 0 0 9 ) f o c u s e d o n i t s m a i n c o r e 1 9 7 0 s , i s c h a r a c t e r i z e d b y a r a n d o m l i n e a r f a b r i c (A, B, and C) and found that the area has undergone (streets 3-6 m wide) influenced by the informal random many transformations without regard for city planning expansions that prevailed on the peripheries of most ordinances or constructing laws, in the absence of a Egyptian cities during that time. comprehensive plan and a powerful monitoring system. H e n c e , t h e u r b a n f a b r i c o f E l - E k h s a s , w h i c h developed in an area with neither legal guideline nor 3. Physical Characteristics and Transformations restricted monitoring, naturally simulated those urban To trace the transformations, first the urban fabric of patterns used in Egyptian cities at that particular time the main core parts (A, B, and C) is generally analyzed. in history. Despite its complicated street network, part a. Before the 1930s b. From the late 1930s to the 1960s c. From the early 1970s to the 2000s Fig.6. Chronological Growth of the Study Area Fig.7. Land Uses in Outer Sphere Table 3. Comparison of the Three Parts of El-Ekhsas Main Core in Terms of Urban Fabric Characteristics 382 JAABE vol.9 no.2 November 2010 Amany Nagy Hareedy A provided small but efficient open areas that served as 1) Property inheritance: Property inheritance and the spaces for social communication. On the contrary, in subsequent process of subdivision of one inherited plot spite of their easy accessibility, parts B and C lack such into multiple smaller plots are recognized as the main open spaces apart from their somewhat narrow streets. key factors affecting the geometrical configuration of the For this reason residents ended up using the connecting village fabric. Indeed, 75.6% of the respondents of part streets in ways they were not designed, such as social A own their houses through inheritance. To better show interaction, playing among children, and even animal the impact of this factor, part A was further analyzed. An breeding, all of which resulted in the obstruction of analysis of the subdivision and plot adaptation practiced vehicle access. through the period spanning 1949–2008 revealed eight 3.2 Block Subdivision System types of plot transformation, categorized as shown in Table 4. and Fig.8. P a r t A i s c h a r a c t e r i z e d b y a n i r r e g u l a r c o m p l e x A c c o r d i n g l y, i t c a n b e c o n c l u d e d t h a t a h i g h configuration of block patterns due to random unplanned construction on private agricultural land. On the other percentage of plot transformations occurred (45 % of hand, the blocks of the expanded part B are semi- total cases) as a natural process. The transformations basically followed one of the following four categories rectangular with widths ranging from 21 to 24 m and (based on the above-mentioned eight types) and an variable lengths. Similarly, the blocks of part C are a mix of randomly constructed and semi-rectangular additional fifth, "Unchanged" category (Table 5.): blocks. The physical transformations, which occurred a) Subdividing original plots: includes constructing according to the adaptations made within the original of private cul-de-sacs and subdividing plots into plots and also the common methods of subdividing rural number of smaller plots directly connected with a properties, can be summarized as the result of the two local or main street (categories 1, 2, 2'), comprising following factors: 25% of total cases; b) Re-subdividing original plots: involves merging a set of plots into one plot, and Table 4. Main Types of Plot Transformations in Part A Fig.8. Part A of El-Ekhsas Showing the Plot Transformation Methods Used Between 1949-2008 JAABE vol.9 no.2 November 2010 Amany Nagy Hareedy 383 then re-subdividing it (categories 3, 3'), comprising 7 of buildings were constructed before the encompassment % of total cases; c) Merging original plots: Includes period (pre-1970), and that 54 % were constructed during the period (Fig.10.). However, both of these occasional adding of additional areas (categories 4, 4'), b u i l d i n g g r o u p s w e r e e x a m i n e d t o d e t e r m i n e t h e comprising 6% of total cases; d) New housing plots or expansion of original ones (category 5), comprising 7 changing trends of their characteristics before and after % of total cases; and e) Unchanged plots, comprising encompassment, specifically in terms of: 55 % of total cases. 1) Changing height trends 2) Linear subdivision of agricultural lands: Fig.11. shows that about 31 % of all buildings have 1 or 2 floors, 50 % have 3 floors, and 19 % have 4 floors Following the land reform laws enacted in the 1950s, the small areas of properties combined with a linear or more. By analyzing the buildings, more than 40 irrigation system for agricultural lands influenced the years old (i.e., built before 1970) (Fig.12.), it is found urban form of expanded built-up areas, as evidenced that 41 % have heights of 1 to 2 floors, 51% have 3 floors, and just 8% have 4 floors. Accordingly, it can in parts B and C. Villagers first divided their land into blocks, ranging between 21and 24 m wide, and then be concluded that the prevailing trend at the time was they divided the blocks further into smaller lots using to construct buildings of low height (1-2 floors), with narrow irrigation canals (1-3 m wide) as streets by filling subsequent changes in some buildings in the form of raising their height by one floor, or more rarely, two them up. The lot areas ranged between 60 and 100 m , and in some cases the size was affected by inheritance floors. On the other hand, about 22 % of buildings built practices, either by splitting a lot into smaller lots or by after encompassment are 1-2 floors in height, 49 % are combining smaller lots into a bigger one. Such lots were 3 floors, and 29% are 4 floors or more. Thus, a changing trend toward an increase in building heights to more usually transferred to successors by inheritance or by sale to other villagers or middle-income class citizens than 3 floors can be seen after encompassment. (Fig.9.). 2) Changing constructing material trends Hence, all such transformations led to an overall F i g . 1 3 . s h o w s t h a t 3 9 % o f a l l b u i l d i n g s w e r e d e c r e a s e i n t h e a r e a s o f i n d i v i d u a l p r o p e r t i e s . constructed using mud walls and wooden ceilings, Indeed, this fact was mentioned by about 64 % of the 36 % using bearing walls, and 25 % using reinforced questionnaire respondents as the most problematic structures. By comparing the buildings' ages and their issue in applying construction laws in cases of new construction materials (Fig.14.), it is found that the construction projects. About 46.3 % of all plots in the prevailing trend before encompassment was construction area are equal to or less than 50 m , 30.2 % fall between using mud and wood (73% of all buildings before 2 2 50.01-75 m , 13.3 % between 75.01-100 m , and 10.2 % encompassment); whereas during the encompassment are more than 100 m (Table 6.). period the trend changed to an increase in construction 3.3 Changing Trends in Building Characteristics u s i n g r e i n f o r c e d c o n c r e t e ( 4 5 % o f t o t a l b u i l d i n g s following encompassment). This trend has recently been An analysis of building characteristics in the main the norm in many Egyptian villages. Additionally, as core of El-Ekhsas (A, B, and C) reveals that about 46 % Table 5. Percentages of Main Types of Plot Transformation Cases in Part A* a. Subdividing original plots b. Re-subdividing original plots c. Merging original plots d. New plots Cases of e. No (1) Subdividing (2) Simple (2’) Simple (3) Merging (3’) Merging and (4) (4’) Simple (5) Expanding plot change with constructing subdivisions subdivisions with and re- re-subdividing with Simple merging with plots/ new transformation private cul-de-sacs additional area subdividing additional area merging additional area plots No. of cases 8 25 3 9 2 7 2 10 82 (148 cases) 6% 17% 2% 6% 1% 5% 1% % of total cases 7% 55% 25% 7% 6% a. Before the 1930s b. From the late 1930s to the 1960s c. From the early 1970s to the 2000s Fig.9. Impact of an Irrigation System on Block Transformations in Part B of El-Ekhsas * Table 6. Percentages of Plot Area in the Main Core (Parts A, B, C) 2 2 ≤ 50 m > 100 m 50.01-75 75.01-100 Plot Area ≤ 25 25.01- 100.01- 125.01- 150.01- 200.01- 2 2 m m > 300 m 2 2 2 2 2 2 m 50 m 125 m 150 m 200 m 300 m No. of plots ( 549 ) 24 230 166 73 22 16 8 5 5 4.4 41.9 30.2 13.3 4 2.9 1.5 0.9 0.9 % of total plots 46.30% 30.20% 13.30% 10.20% Fig.10. Age of Fig.11. Building * Note: Parts A and B are referred in Fig.6. Construction Height 384 JAABE vol.9 no.2 November 2010 Amany Nagy Hareedy Fig.13. Fig.15. Building Fig.12. Changing Trends in Building Construction Condition Fig.14. Changing Trends in Construction Height after Encompassment Materials Materials after Encompassment shown in Fig.15., the high percentages of good (30 % were constructed without regard to these laws. of total buildings) and average conditioned buildings (32%), emphasizes the sequential transformations that 4. Physical Problems and Resident Requirements have been accelerated by modernization, natural growth, A c c o r d i n g t o o u r a n a l y s i s u s i n g r e s i d e n t increased needs for housing, and the dominance of questionnaire, the existing physical problems (Fig.17.) private ownership of properties. of the area were identified; specifically, the problems 3.4 Planning and Construction Laws Till 2008 pertained to: S i n c e E l - E k h s a s b e c a m e o n e o f t h e c i t y ' s 4.1 Street Network neighborhoods in the early 1970s, its urban development The narrow width of the street network in El-Ekhsas has officially been under the jurisdiction of city planning was noted by about 44% of the respondents as one of 1 6 ) l a w N o . 3 / 1 9 8 2 a n d b u i l d i n g r e g u l a t i n g l a w N o . the area's problematic physical issues. Except for its 17) 106/1976 and its amendments in 1996 ; these laws main street "El-Teraa St.", the street network has widths ranging from 1.5 to 4 m, with occasional winding streets included the following stipulations: 1 ) R e g a r d i n g t h e s t re e t n e t w o r k : C o n s t r u c t i o n and dead ends, especially in the older part A. Such works facing streets less than 6 m wide are not allowed. narrow streets widths are incompatible with modern O t h e r w i s e , t h e motor transportation and emergency vehicles in terms of building must be set accessibility (Fig.18.-a). Moreover, 51% of respondents back by a distance complained of the lack of street maintenance (Fig.18.-b), e q u a l t o h a l f t h e 16% complained of the lack of a garbage disposal difference between s y s t e m , a n d 3 3 % c o m p l a i n e d o f s m a l l o r n o o p e n Fig.16. Law Article for Street Widening 6 m and the original spaces. street width (Fig.16.). 4.2 Plots (Block Subdivisions) 2) Regarding the block subdivisions: Each plot of T h e c o n t i n u o u s d i v i s i o n o f o r i g i n a l p l o t s b y land to be subdivided into more than 2 sub-plots must expanding families due to the previously mentioned meet the following requirements: inheritance practices has resulted in the formation of a) 1/3 of the land area must be allocated for roads, small property areas, some as small as 20 m . This issue squares, and public parks. was noted by 64% of respondents as a problem which b) Each piece of the divided land must face at least forces them not to comply with construction laws in the one street (not less than 6 m wide). case of reconstructing on their land (Fig.18.-c). c) Enclosed areas of buildings must not exceed 60% 4.3 Buildings and Infrastructure of the plot, and the open built areas (terraces, stairs, Despite significant improvements in their conditions and building entrances) may only extend for 10% of a and amenities, the buildings of El-Ekhsas still lag behind building's enclosed area. This includes the possibility of those of other middle-class neighborhoods in the city. exceptions in exceeding this percentage in some cases This is observed from the state of building deterioration, according to the discretion of local authorities. their lack of both maintenance and facade paintings (29% 3) Regarding buildings characteristics: of responses) (Fig.18.-d, e), bad natural ventilation a) Building height must not exceed 1.5 times the (11%). (9%), and bad distribution of house elements street width, with a maximum height of 36 m (in critical cases the Prime Minister has the right to minimize or maximize this height in special city areas). b) Building owners must provide a sufficient number of elevators for buildings whose top floor exceeds 16 m aboveground, with a sufficient number and area of parking spaces. c) Any additional constructions, changes, or facade paintings are not allowed until permission is obtained from the local authority. However, our field survey found that most buildings located specifically within the inner parts of the area Fig.17. Questionnaire Results about Existing Physical Problems JAABE vol.9 no.2 November 2010 Amany Nagy Hareedy 385 I n a d d i t i o n , s e v e r a l n e g a t i v e i s s u e s r e q u i r i n g intervention at both the city and village levels were also observed, such as: a) the narrow widths of streets for vehicle access, and the inappropriateness of current construction laws related to street widening in light of the existing situation; b) the small plot sizes which further a. Narrow b. Lack of street c. Small areas d. Lack of e. Disordered encourage owners to refrain from obeying the law; and width of street maintenance of plots building replacements network maintenance c) the deterioration and lack of maintenance of built up Fig.18. Existing Physical Problems in El-Ekhsas, El-Minya areas due to both weak governmental intervention and a lack of resident awareness concerning their role in such Additionally, El-Ekhsas still retains a gap in quality level in improvement projects. terms of infrastructure and services, compared with those Thus, in light of the expected exacerbation of the provided to the other middle-class neighborhoods of the above problems, this study concludes by stressing the city. This view was supported by 33% of the respondents importance of establishing partnerships between local who complained of bad sanitation maintenance, water residents and the city government within the framework shortages, and occasional power interruption. of the Egyptian city planning system. Such partnerships By revising the current planning and construction laws, should work in parallel in two directions. The first is and in light of the prevalence of narrow streets and small to study such conflicts to obtain a consensus about the property areas, it can be argued that: suggested local bylaws that incorporate the interests of 1) It is difficult for owners to set back their buildings by both villagers and city planners regarding, for example, a depth equal to half the difference between the required the minimum requirements for vehicle street widths, 6 m and the original street width; because the usable area building heights, and the minimum dimensions of plot of small sized plots will decrease sharply; 2) The areas' subdivisions. The second is to promote improvement unique building floor ratio, which reaches nearly 100%, projects for mitigating existing problems after raising makes it difficult for owners to comply with the law resident awareness by educating them on the importance requiring such ratios to be 60%. Furthermore, due to the of such projects and their participatory role in them. expected sharp decrease in the built areas, many owners refrain from obeying such construction laws. References Hence, and in the case of continued neglect of these 1) Elzawahry, A. (1991) Encompassed Rural Villages into Cities; Special problems without coming up with practical solutions, Concern with Greater Cairo, Un-published master thesis. Architecture Department, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University. increased building heights will combine with increased 2) Sadek, A. (1989) Rural Areas Encompassed by Urban Areas; A Case of densities to create even worse living environments, Giza Governorate, Un-published master thesis. Department of Architecture, resulting in a disordered and degraded urban fabric. Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University. 3) Hareedy, A. and Deguchi, A. (2009) Rural Villages Encompassed into R e f e r r i n g t o t h e q u e s t i o n n a i r e r e s u l t s , r e s i d e n t s Urbanized Areas of Egyptian Developing Cities. Journal of Architecture and noted that they require the following from future urban Urban Design, Kyushu Univ., Vol.16, pp.47-59. 4) Encyclopedia Britannica. Rural village definition. Available at: http://www. planning efforts: 1) softening of existing construction britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/629051/village. laws to be more practical, 2) providing loans for people 5) ESA, Egyptian Survey Authority (2009) Maps for Old Delta Villages. to reconstruct and maintain dilapidated buildings, 3) 6) Ragih, A. (2007) Egypt Urbanization; detecting the urban transformation of Egypt through the End of the Twentieth Century and Exploring its excluding bakery shops from residential cores to mitigate Future Directions until 2020. Published book, part 1. Cairo: the Academic congestion and noise, 4) improving infrastructure, 5) Bookshop. providing governmental projects for street maintenance, 7) S a x e n a , A ( 2 0 0 3 ) R e m o t e S e n s i n g & G I S i n a s s e s s i n g p h y s i c a l transformation of Bhopal city, India. Map Asia Conference, pp.1-6. 6) providing a garbage disposal system, 7) moving the 8) El-Hefnawi, A. (2005) Protecting Agricultural Land from Urbanization or animal breeding areas out away from the residential areas. 'Managing' the Conflict between Informal Urban Growth While Meeting the Demands of the Communities. Third Urban Research Symposium on Land Development, Urban Policy and Poverty Reduction, Brasilia, DF, Brazil, 5. Conclusion pp.1-11. Available at: http://www.worldbank.org/urban/symposium2005/ papers/elhefnawi.pdf. This study examined the physical transformations 9) Soliman, A. (2004) A Possible Way Out; Formalizing Housing Informality practiced in the El-Ekhsas area of El-Minya City as a in Egyptian Cities. Published Book, New York: Oxford University press of representative example of a rural area encompassed into America, pp.43-45. 10) Brookfield, H.; Hadi, A. and Mahmud, Z. (1991) The City in the Village; the urbanized areas of an Egyptian city. the In-situ Urbanization of Villages; Villagers and their Land around Kuala- B a s e d o n a f i e l d o b s e r v a t i o n , a n d t h e r e s u l t s o f Lumpur, Malaysia. Published Book, New York: Oxford University Press. the conducted questionnaire in El-Ekhsas, the study 11) Bentinck, J. V. (2000) Unruly Urbanization of Delhi's Fringe; Changing Patterns of Land- use and Livelihood, Doctor dissertation, Faculty of Spatial has highlighted several issues regarding the physical Sciences, University of Groningen, Netherlands. characteristics and transformations in the area including: 12) Hang, M. (2006) "Villages" in Shenzhen, Doctor engineer dissertation, Faculty of Architecture, Bauhaus University, Germany. a) chronological changes in its urban expansion, that 13) GOPP The General Organization of Physical Planning (2009) The General is, from organic to grid-like, and then to random linear, Strategic and Detailed Plan of El-Minya City, El-Minya Governorate, The w i t h t h e d i s a p p e a r a n c e o f o p e n s p a c e s w i t h i n n e w final report, pp.106-135. 14) CAPMAS Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics- Egypt expansions, b) the effects of both property inheritance (2006) Egypt Population and Housing Census. practices and a linear subdivision system for agricultural 15) Hareedy, A. and Deguchi, A. (2009) Urban Expansion Issues of Medium- land on the sequential transformations of plots that led Sized Egyptian Cities; The Case of El-Minya City. Journal of Habitat Engineering, Vol.1, pp.35-49. to a decrease in their average areas, and c) an increasing 16) The General Authority for Urban Planning, Egypt (2006) The urban trend of building heights becoming more than three planning law no.3/1982 in Egypt. 17) Prime Minister's Office (1996) The Building regulating law no.106/1976 in floors following the encompassment period, as well as an Egypt. Available at: http://www.eltoukhy.com/law/2.htm. increasing trend of using reinforced concrete structures. 386 JAABE vol.9 no.2 November 2010 Amany Nagy Hareedy

Journal

Journal of Asian Architecture and Building EngineeringTaylor & Francis

Published: Nov 1, 2010

Keywords: urban sprawl; urbanization; city planning; Egypt; El-Minya City

There are no references for this article.