Problems and solutions in CairoLocation and growth
Cairo is located on the edge of the desert where the River Nile leaves its valley andenters the delta.Although the Giza pyramids were builtnearby, it was not until the tenthcentury that Cairo became a permanentsettlement. Today it is the largest city inAfrica with a population estimated to beover 12 million.
Unlike most other cities in developingcountries, Cairo has few squattersettlements. Instead,most buildings arebrick-built and permanent. Manynewcomers to the city live within the old medieval core (Figure 4.22). Some findaccommodation in overcrowded, two-roomed apartments within tall flats.Others 'camp' in any empty space in roof-top slums on tops of offices and otherbuildings (the desert climate allows roofs to be flat). Later an extra storey may beadded to the building, often illegally, workshop making the temporary homespermanent. Another estimated 2 million people (the authorities have no real idea) livein Cairo's 'City of the Dead'. This is a huge Muslim cemetery where people findshelter, often inside the tombs themselves.The tombs are dry and clean but lackelectricity, sewerage and running water - services not needed by the dead! The 'city'now has its own market and industries.
The authorities in Cairo, in common with other large and rapidly growing cities,are faced with numerous problems other than just housing. Some of these aresummarised in below.