On the positive side, there are great examples of renewing the ‘peri-eco-urban' resilience. Looking beyond one-off projects, these adaptive pathways combine ecological stewardship, collaborative governance, agro-ecology farming, integrated water systems, low impact coastal defence, and nature based livelihoods. To make all these work calls for enhanced forms of governance – adaptive, collaborative and inclusive of all stakeholders.
Peri-urban-rural linkage pathways:
A stronger link, connectivity or integration between urban and rural is a key theme to bring Cairo’s peri-urban areas a place of resilient communities. This particular pathway channels policies for responding to the fragmented and socially segregated peri-urban areas of Cairo. Additionally, considering the massive conversion of agricultural lands, particularly along the regional economic corridor connecting Cairo and the Suez Economic Area, there is a need to for an integration of urban and rural economy. This calls for policies to protect the remaining agricultural lands while ‘restoring’ the intrinsic peri-urban values that has been declining due to dramatic rural-urban transformation. Meanwhile, it is also essential to connect the long-term local people with the new people residing in the new high-class residential areas to narrow the gap and prevent potential social conflicts. Establishing community-based programs that bring together the peri-urban community might be a visionary strategy. On the other hand, there is also a need to ensure inclusive provision of basic infrastructure for all. Currently, the local-long term people’s residential areas are bypassed by the construction of regional transport corridors. Ensuring local connectivity between enclaves and improving access of local people to a better waste management, clean water and transport to urban centres is seen as equally important.
Climate resilience and vulnerability pathway
One of Cairo’s biggest climate challenges is related to water – potential flooding along the coastline and the Nile Delta due to sea level rise and the shortage of water supply potential affecting the overall agricultural productivity in the foreseeable future. This challenge is typical for regions situated within close distance to the coast and of those with high reliance on agricultural sectors. To address this two ‘opposing’ phenomenon, Cairo needs a better design of peri-urban areas in two big themes. First is redesigning the coastal areas which can involve delineating the flood-prone areas and impose a strict zoning regulation. This needs to be followed by restoring the ecosystem values of those areas. The second theme is to ensure the provision of sufficient water supplies along the Nile Delta to maintain the food production capacity. This can be done by constructing and maintaining irrigation canals. Suggesting a crop change can also be an alternative strategy to promote a resilient and sustainable food production. Meanwhile, to prevent severe impacts of climate change to the people, a better design of settlements can be a core strategy. This can include eco-designs of housing and also to allocate development to suitable locations (e.g. fair distance to industries that is currently growing along the Cairo-Suez corridor). Providing basic infrastructure is of a paramount importance – e.g. health and sanitation, access to clean water etc.
Collaborative and integrative governance pathway
Some of Cairo’s peri-urban development is unplanned. Thus, bringing a more formalised peri-urban development can be a key component to an improved governance of peri-urban areas. This channels a better monitoring and evaluation of policy and to ensure they are implemented accordingly. A climate resilient peri-urban area also requires strengthening the roles of Environmental Impact Assessment for better screening of development, particularly of those with significant impact (e.g. manufacturing, transport hubs and other strategic major projects along the Cairo-Suez corridor). Another important point to suggest is the need for a better technical guidance or indicators to regulate development. Currently, there are confusions in the use of indicators applied to both rural and urban development. There is a need to provide a separated but integrated guidance for both. Lastly, while Cairo’s peri-urban development reflects their local, regional and global dynamic, it implies that there is a need for stronger collaboration of actors of all levels and between the public, private and community.