Egypt’s Housing, Utilities & Urban Communities Ministry says it is prioritising the redevelopment of informal settlements across the country.

Speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Cairo, a spokesperson from the ministry told MEED: “The ministry has created a database of unstable areas and formulated a strategic tactic to both improve existing areas as well as transferring people to alternative residential areas.

“Plans to develop three areas of informal housing in the districts of Tal al-Aqareb, Al-Asmarat, and Al-Herafiyen have recently been signed with the Governor of Cairo,” says the spokesperson.

In late 2015, there was some encouragement when the authorities supported and pressed ahead with the Maspero Triangle scheme. In November, the UK’s Foster+Partners revealed its masterplan for a $500m redevelopment project in downtown Cairo.

The Maspero area has about 20,000 residents living in informal and illegal settlements. Previous proposals to develop the site have been met with opposition over worries that low-income families would be evicted from their homes and businesses to free the land for luxury schemes.

The redevelopment of the Maspero Triangle District will consists of commercial, retail and residential buildings in the Maspero area. The scheme will also develop the banks of the River Nile in the area and include the construction of a bridge that connects the project with the affluent area of Zamalek.

The Housing, Utilities & Urban Communities Ministry estimates that 500,000 new homes need to be built every year for five years to keep pace with a population expanding at a rate of 2 per cent a year, and to plug the estimated backlog of 3 million housing units.

Video:

Hossam Abougabal looks at Egypt housing