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Keywords:

  • global cities;
  • spatial segregation;
  • gated communities;
  • neoliberalism;
  • Egypt

This paper examines the construction and marketing of recent upscale gated communities on the Egyptian capital's desert outskirts. Discussing questions of design and their use in promotional materials, I show how global inventories of architecture and social lifestyles are inserted in concrete local marketing contexts. While some of this marketing and subsequently some communities are successful, I argue that many aspects of projects are flawed in their neglect of local social forms and material demands. Differentiating between projects that imply a certain globalization of the local versus those that represent the localization of the abstractly global, I argue that the latter are more likely to fail. Reviewing a number or recent projects I illustrate how they all address upscale material demands, social sentiments and fear, and centrally promise safe and healthy homes and like-minded neighbors. Drawing on recent western theoretical debates about the increasing segregation of urban spaces, and the disappearance of public spaces, this paper explores the use and limits of such theorizations for the context of a post-colonial Middle Eastern metropolis.