Cairobserver — Resident Perspective: Cairo-Alex desert road

Resident Perspective: Cairo-Alex desert road

Resident Perspective is a series of standardized interviews with Cairo residents to get their views on the city and their neighborhoods.

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Where in Cairo do you live?
In a small gated community at the beginning of Cairo-Alexandria desert road.

List the most positive and the most negative aspects of living there.
Positive: it’s a quiet area, unlike most of Cairo’s neighborhoods - the area is booming so we have a lot of new places and activities to do there, so I don’t always have to leave the area.

Negative: I love cycling and taking long walks, which is not very easy to do there, so I have to go Downtown to do that - we don’t have any grocery stores in a walking distance, so I always have to take my car when I need to buy something - The ring road is crowded most of the time, so I always get stuck when I am trying to go anywhere outside the area.


How do you move around Cairo (modes of transport) and what would you like to see different regarding the future of transport in the city?
I use my car most of the time, but I recently started using a bike every now and then. - I would love to see more people using bikes. When you are on a bike, you start seeing the city in a different way. You started noticing things and places that you might not notice when you are locked inside your car. But, as a female, I would just have to live with the sexual harassment and ignore it when I am on my bike, if I really want to enjoy cycling.


How does your district fit within Cairo? What would you like to see changed in that relationship between your neighborhood and the city?
It seems more like ‘an accessible’ neighborhood, but I see it rather a connected one: - it’s relatively close to three ring roads (mehwar, the other rind road from Lebanon Sq. and Maadi/Giza ring road) - close to Faisal and Haram and Giza pyramids -13kms to downtown Cairo - 10 minutes away from the Cairo/Alexandria toll station -almost 60kms away from Fayoum.


What are your top complaints about Cairo and what would you suggest to solve those problems?

Absence of proper sidewalks, sexual harassment, the absence of the cycling culture (a lot of people think riding a bike gives an image that you don’t have money or if you are a female, then it’s like you are looking to get sexually harassed).

Solutions: - the government should have proper sidewalks to allow people to use them instead of walking in the middle of cars. And, have proper traffic lights as well. - as for sexual harassment, I don’t see a solution to it in the near future.


What do you like the most about Cairo and what are your favorite places in the city.

Architecture in some areas, the weather (apart from the pollution), the feeling of the ancient city.

Favorite places: Downtown Cairo (especially Cafe Riche), Azhar, Ghouri, Al Moez Street area, Maadi.


Do you relate to the historic heritage of your district or of Cairo in general? Do you think you have a good sense of history of the city? Would you say you are have “civic pride” or are proud to live in Cairo?

Yes, I relate to the historic heritage in Cairo in general and I think I have a good sense of the city’s history.


Do you understand how the city is governed/managed? Do you think your community/district would be better or worst if residents from the community/district were involved in local government (محليات)?

My community is not really representative of the city because it’s a small community of less than 50 houses, but I think it would be better if we had better residents involved in the local government.


In the context of Cairo, what comes to mind when you think of these keywords?

Green Space/Parks: I don’t feel it exists in Cairo, we need to have a lot more green space/parks.

Gated communities:  Booming (most of the newly weds I know move to gated communities).

Museums: They are there, but many Egyptians are not aware they exist or just never interested to visit them.

Downtown: People in my circle either started going there after the protests or most of them haven’t been there since they were kids. For them, it’s just an area they pass by on their way to another place. I know few people like me who enjoy going there.


If you could move to another district in Cairo where would you move to?
Downtown, maybe somewhere around Talaat Harb square.

*If you would like to tell us about where you live and share your views on Cairo, fill the survey by clicking here.

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