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The Relocation of al-Fustat Pottery Village: Evaluating the Results of Urban Redevelopment

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In an attempt to deal with environmental threats to the inhabitants of the Kum Ghurab district in Cairo, the Egyptian government closed the district's pottery kilns in 2003, jeopardizing the livelihood of potters who trace the origins of their workshops to the establishment of al-Fustat in AD 641, the first Islamic capital of Egypt. In response to this potentially tragic loss of cultural and social capital, a model development project was initiated to introduce modern kilns and commercial units as part of a new potters' village and arts and crafts centre. In 2010, the project was the subject of a field study and post-occupancy surveys of primary and secondary stakeholders in the new model village, the old pottery area awaiting demolition and a newly developed arts and crafts centre bordering the model village. Findings suggest that although, the project exhibits shortcomings related to the amount of commercial disruption, loss of employment and citizen participation, relocation satisfaction problems appear to have been addressed in large part because commercial relocation occurred nearby, and local housing was available for area potters and workers; and a new arts and crafts economy has been established to address threats from globalization and technological change that have taken place within the broader pottery industry over the last several decades, reflecting greater demands for high quality decorative products and a wider range of arts and crafts products.
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Keywords: Egypt; al-Fustat; pottery; relocation; resettlement; urban design

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Clemson University

Publication date: 2012-08-17

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Islamic Architecture (IJIA) is intended for those interested in urban design and planning, architecture, and landscape design in the historic Islamic world, encompassing the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia, but also the more recent geographies of Islam in its global dimensions. The main emphasis is on detailed analysis of the practical, historical and theoretical aspects of architecture, with a focus on both design and its reception. The journal is also specifically interested in contemporary architecture and urban design in relation to social and cultural history, geography, politics, aesthetics, technology, and conservation. Spanning across cultures and disciplines, IJIA seeks to analyze and explain issues related to the built environment throughout the regions covered. The cross-cultural and interdisciplinary nature of this journal will significantly contribute to the knowledge in this field.

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