[Darb Al-Ahmar] was one of the poorest areas of Cairo. An area where social development had no horizons whatsoever therefore, you had more and more people coming in because these historic cities are transit areas very often for newly urbanised populations so you get more and more degradation. So we wanted to try and make sure the population in this area saw a strong economic future for themselves so there was no temptation to leave.

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Interviewer: Unknown in al-Azhar Park, Cairo

Azhar Park – Green Space for Cairo, tve.org

Cairo’s combination of modern, urban problems and historic importance attracted the attention of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and the Aga Khan himself. It was decided to give a park to the people of Cairo.

The city of Cairo has a very, very low density of green space per population. I think it’s one of the worst in the world actually…. It is a case study situation of a historic city with all the problems of growing population, concentration of historic assets and so and so forth. And so this was a very, very unique case study situation …

In medieval times, Darb Al-Ahmar was at the heart of one of the greatest cities in the world but more recently, its fortunes have been less healthy.

It was one of the poorest areas of Cairo. An area where social development had no horizons whatsoever therefore, you had more and more people coming in because these historic cities are transit areas very often for newly urbanised populations so you get more and more degradation. So we wanted to try and make sure the population in this area saw a strong economic future for themselves so there was no temptation to leave.

Let the Beauty We Love Be What We Do, AKDN

In Cairo, this meant coupling the creation of Al Azhar Park to the development of an entire district: Darb Al-Ahmar. This historic neighbourhood had been in free fall. Garbage was piled shoulder high in the streets, drug dealers prowled its ruins, migrant families were croweded together in decrepit housing and landmark buildings were going to ruin.

It was one of the poorest areas of Cairo. An area where social development had no horizons whatsoever therefore, you had more and more people coming in because these historic cities are transit areas very often for newly urbanised populations so you get more and more degradation.

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