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Open Access Property Market Deregulation and Informal Tenure in Egypt: A Diabolical Threat to Millions

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In the ambiguous legislative climate synonymous with authoritarianism, the Egyptian state has encouraged the commodification of land and property through a raft of different policies that have deregulated the market, driving up the prices in some places sixteen-fold over the last decade alone. State-led commodification in tandem with informal tenure for most Egyptians has meant the exploitation of many communities by a plethora of government and quasi-government agencies that claim their land as their own.

Through three different tenure cases lodged by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) over the last four years, this paper will show how a pattern exists between state-led commodification and informal/insecure tenure. The case studies show the official use of direct methods of eviction such as eviction orders, sequestration decrees, and the falsifying of contracts. In addition, unofficial indirect methods of forced eviction have been used, such as cutting off power and water supplies, as well as the intimidation and torture of some residents.

The paper will also show how many of the forced evictions have happened, or been attempted, in the shadow of seemingly social motives like "upgrading unsafe areas," "the public good," or simply labelling the residents as "usurpers" and "squatters."
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2016

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  • Architecture_MPS is the academic journal of the research group AMPS (Architecture, Media, Politics, Society). It addresses the growing interest in the social and political interpretation of the built environment from a multi-disciplinary perspective. It engages with architecture, urbanism, planning, sociology, economics, cultural studies, visual culture, new medias and technologies. It draws on experts who bring emerging issues of international importance to the reader. Its publications are linked with a wide range of research programmes and conferences to further raise awareness of the social importance of architecture.

    This is an Open Access journal, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC BY). This licence permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. For more information see:

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