Dilapidated housing, inadequate utilities, inequitable public services, pollution, traffic jams, diminishing public open space and green space, and garbage in our streets are problems and challenges we all face in our neighborhoods and cities. Such challenges are directly related to the way our cities have been governed for many decades. Overcoming such challenges does not only require new public policies and professional expertise, but the engagement of all city residents since they experience these problems every day and have, more than is acknowledged, ideas about how to address them.
The distribution of public resources and services is not transparent or equitable across the city’s different neighborhoods and until recently the government has prevented residents from making decisions about their future, particularly at the local level. Current urban policies continue to fail to resolve such challenges because they still largely deny obvious realities and see residents as part of the problem, not as part of the solution. During the past two years, we Egyptians have successfully mobilized to demand change, yet to transform our urban reality we need to continue to demand improved living conditions to build an equitable, just, vibrant, and affordable city.