Year | 2022
Location | Cairo, Egypt
Clients | UN-Habitat
Ahead of COP27 the Cairo Governorate in partnership with the UN-Habitat has introduced the Cairo Bike sharing scheme in effort to minimise the carbon footprint of the city. The University of Sheffield teamed up with students from the American University in Cairo in order to analyse the first phase of the scheme located in the area of Downtown Cairo.
The collaboration aimed to push the potential of the project forward and generate design proposals that are culturally conscious and contextually informed. To achieve this a site visit proved key for the Sheffield team as it gave the students the opportunity to critically observe the local attitudes towards the scheme and make informed conclusions with their final proposals.
Overall 9 days were spent in Cairo dedicated to the exploration of both Downtown Cairo and the wider context of the city. A series of design challenges and workshops between the two universities provided a unique blend of the different perspectives – the one of the locals and the one of the Sheffield students that was socially driven and community orientated.
The students conducted a series of interviews with the locals in order to enrich their understanding of the core obstacles that the scheme faces. The intense research and field work culminated in the final Symposium presentation in front of representatives of the various stakeholders. This helped the team reflect and highlight key conclusions and project ambitions, recognising that community engagement, flexible space and future-proof design were the main factors that could make the execution of the scheme more successful.
Having the opportunity to attend the official launch of Cairo Bike put all the research into perspective and enabled the team to engage with the users on a more personal scale by cycling together.
The overall reflection of the experience once the students returned to Sheffield challenged the original brief and looked beyond the expected outcomes. The team recognised the immense potential of the scheme, not just for the people of Downtown, but for the cycling culture within the whole of Cairo and potentially one day – the whole of Egypt.
The aspirations, hopes and ideas that were gathered through this challenging yet inspiring research process were summed up in the ‘Research and Exploration Pack’ produced for the UN-Habitat and in order to celebrate the enriching experience of the team an entrance for the ‘Field Journal’ was delivered.
Mentor: Yussur Al-Chokhdar
Location: Cairo, Egypt
Students: Hammad Haider, Callum McLaughlin, Jingting Wang, Heba Alshahrani, Jiawei Fan, Kudakwashe Muzamhindo, Mariya Nesheva, Lauryn Thomson, Yann Bracegirdle, Martin Sekac, Grace Byrne, Zubaydah Jibrilu, Lemar Darien-Cambell.