Of Demolitions and Donors the Problematics of State Intervention in Informal Cairo<sup>1</sup>

Diane Singerman

in Cairo Contested

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9789774162886
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9781617970351 | DOI:
Of Demolitions and Donors the Problematics of State Intervention in Informal Cairo1

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This chapter shows that “the logic of neglectful rule”, is not simply due to a scarcity of resources to service, regulate, and improve the city but can be understood better as a mix of disengagement, clientelism, and fear that views land and housing itself as an important spoil to distribute to its loyal followers. It argues that citizens should not expect the government to embrace land titling and regularization efforts that would provide security of tenure, a legal status, and housing equity to millions of Cairenes. Three brief examples are presented that indicate the durability and tenacity of what is often called informal Cairo. The failure of the World Bank and USAID development projects in the 1970s and 1980s suggests that any comprehensive approach to urban informality requires giving such neighborhoods a measure of legal recognition and allowing them to develop a measure of social autonomy. Due to this, they never again attempted such urban upgrading and housing programs in Cairo.

Keywords: informal Cairo; housing programs; World Bank; USAID; state intervention; devlopment projects; social autonomy

Chapter.  8001 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: International Relations

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