“Urban protests take dual forms. The rebellious mode, loud and spectacular, as in rallies, strikes, and, ultimately, urban revolts and a more subtle form, taking place in Cairo and in many other cities in Egypt and across the global south. This second form is characterized by what Asef Bayat has called a process of slow encroachment” Comment CLUSTER – Cairo Lab for Urban Studies, Training and Environmental Research.
In the past two years, individuals and groups that have been maginalized by the erratic course of events have started to redefine the meaning and structure of public spaces in ways unintended by architects, planners, and policy makers.
From Tahrir Square to informal neighborhoods and local streets, the city has been reconfigured: on a side it has been dismembered by walls, barricades, street fights, burnt buildings and sabotaged infrastructures. On the other side it has is being reconstituted through the aggregation of civilians’ interventions in public spaces: from the simplest encroachment by a street vendor on the sidewalk, to roadside cafés on a highway, to the communities mobilizing to construct an off-ramp/exit on the Ring Road…
CLUSTER has documented multiple manifestations of such forms of urban protest focusing on how the citizens are taking part to the collective redefinition of public spaces from which they had been excluded for decades of a new city.
CLUSTER — Cairo Lab for Urban Studies, Training and Environmental Research aims at establishing a critical space for urban discourse engaging critical theorization while being grounded in professional practice, negotiating the blurred boundaries between formal/institutional regulations and everyday urban informality. CLUSTER team is composed by Omar Nagati and Beth Stryker, principals, Yasmina Taha, Mohamed Rafik, Ahmad Kadry, Hanaa Gad, Salma El-Lakany, Hadeer Amin.
CLUSTER , took part at Planning for Protest a publication, exhibition and associated project of the 2013 Lisbon Architecture Triennale that explore both the social and architectural definitions of protest in light of the current global financial crisis. If you want to purchase the catalogue of Planning for protest click HERE. Discover more about Lisbon Architecture Triennale and go to: CLOSE CLOSER – JIMENEZ LAI @ LISBON TRIENNALE – CRISIS BUSTERS,
Photos: courtesy of Planning for Protest – www.planningforprotest.org