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Workshop: The Site and Services/Core House Starter Examples of The ‘70s

By on April 24, 2015

Moderator: Reinhard Goethert, MIT SIGUS
Martin Scoppa, Singapore-MIT University of Technology and Design

The fundamental shift of affordable housing approaches in the ‘70s and in Egypt lead to a series of innovative site and services/core house projects throughout Egypt developed in partnership with western development agencies.*   Seven projects resulted, intended to demonstrate an alternative to the previous multi-story rental apartments, and to offer an alternative to the vast rapidly growing informal sectors on the periphery of Cairo.   Most were core house types as being promoted throughout the world, but also included an innovative multi-story core house design and a broader land development concept for urban upgrading and expansion.   Many were a part of the various ‘new town’ projects proposed around Cairo in that period.

Demonstration projects were built in Ismailia (with support of the British Ministry of Overseas Development); Suez Demonstration Project, (with technical assistance by British consultants); Alexandria and Assiut projects (built with World Bank Funding support); Sadat City New town (designed by local professionals); 10th of Ramadan New Town Industrial City; (by local professionals); Helwan new community and upgrading program (with support from USAID and US consultants); and the Port Said demonstration project, an innovative multi-story proposal (with British Consultants).

Because it was not feasible nor possible to survey the sites at this time, experiments were made with satellite images from Google Earth. The images were used to track and compare the growth and expansion that took place since 1977 until today, using detailed 500m x 500x reference segments. The goal was to see if Google Earth images could be a viable surrogate for a quick assessment of the expandable core houses. Is the quality of useful data good enough? What are the limits to the type of data that you get get from satellite imagery?

  • The Proceedings from a seminar held in Cairo January 29-30, 1979, hosted by the Joint Research Team on Housing in Egypt, of the Cairo University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology program, provided the key reference for the projects. These Proceedings document the designs, and include a brief summary of each project. The original Master Plans and projects documents supplemented the initial design intent.Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 4.28.17 PM