The few months after January 2011 were marked by a sense of euphoria among architects and planners (academics and practitioners alike). Both took cues from the revolutionary process and envisioned new modes of pedagogy and professional practice.
The Architectural Department at Cairo University led an initiative to develop the graduation projects of the class of 2011 into a contribution to the ongoing restructuring of the city and public space. These projects were supposed to be citizen-initiated and inclusive, setting the groundwork for emerging social and political orders.
A team of 16 students, 3 faculty members, and 3 assistants embarked on an experimental design process. This process emphasized the relevance of the “local” and invited each student to propose a critical urban intervention in his or her neighbourhood, where he or she lives, studies, or works. The goal of the project was to explore the potential of local-based initiatives for developing and legitimizing...