GLOBALIZATION AND EXTERRITORIALITY IN METROPOLITAN CAIRO

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Abstract

ABSTRACT. Rapid construction of new spaces like hotels, malls, private clubs, and gated communities in Greater Cairo, Egypt produces structures disconnected spatially and conceptually from most of the existing urban fabric. Their spatial concepts and practices, as well as architectural forms and expertise, are based largely on globally available models. Planning and construction are guided by the search for security in the face of real or imagined fear of the urban masses and political upheaval. Concrete walls, guarded entrances, and high-tech security technology bear witness to these fears. Analysis of the Mena House Hotel, the Grand Egyptian Museum project, and the First Mall in Giza shows how these projects globalize Cairo and localize the global. Often these globalized spaces are remade by creating local and regional ties and design features that were not anticipated by the planners. Such changes shed light on underlying dynamics and contribute to a better understanding of in situ globalization. Whereas their physical features tend to accentuate their globalized nature, these spaces do not exist in isolation from their geographical and cultural contexts. Their everyday realities tell tales of reterritorialization that are frequently overlooked in scholarly debates.

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