Saturday, September 20, 2008

the cliff dwellers quandary

The New York Times follows up on the cliff collapse in Manshayet Nasser, a sprawling Cairo neighborhood of more than one million residents:

The police have cordoned off the neighborhood; they don’t want any prying reporters, foreign observers or charity groups to get in. “It’s a crisis,” barked one state security agent, when asked why the area was sealed. A crisis for the government seems to be what he meant.

On Sept. 6 a huge piece of this cliff broke off and crushed the lives below, poor people living on the edge of the city. So far, 101 bodies have been recovered, but the true scope of what happened remains hidden beneath massive rocks that rest where they fell.


Liam said...

This is a great blog, thanks for writing.

Acumensch said...

No prying reporters? No charity groups?

I could see a thesis from this that's sort of like Klein's "disaster capitalism" - except this is disaster fascism, and the goal is to strain the poor and kill them by cutting off access to the outside.

Acumensch said...

Robert, I have some links to a story about evicted homeless squatters in Seattle from my blog if you're interested.

NAJohnson said...

We're holding a conference at the University of Pennsylvania in April of 2009 titled 'Unspoken Borders| the ecologies of inequality and the future of design in race, space, and politics'. (Long title I know). Will you email me privately so we can chat? Thanks!

rn said...


If you gave me a private email, I could give you mine.

How do I contact you?

NAJohnson said...

My apologies. it's Thanks!

Emily W said...

Dear Mr. Neuwirth,

I am in an Academy for International Studies (freshman through seniors in high school). We are currently creating presentations based off of TED presenters and their projects. My group's project revolves around your presentation at the 2005 TED Conference; The Shadow Cities of the Future. We are just in the beginning stages of our presentation that will be shared with our entire Academy, as well as publicly (on the web). We would love any feedback from you, or to get in contact with you regarding the project. Any comments you could make would be much appreciated. All of the students involved in the project (including myself) are very interested in this topic. We know you are very busy, and we would be extremely excited and honored if you would look at our project. It is a Google site, and the link is:

Please feel free to leave comments if you can, or to respond back on this blog. I do not know how else I can get in contact with you, so I will subscribe to the blog and check back very often.

I hope that if you have the time, you will consider helping us. We would be honored!


rn said...

Hey Emily:

I'm honored that students in your Academy for Intl. Studies are using my talk as a jumping off point for their own research. I'll be glad to pitch in, if I can.

I'm still not quite sure what you guys want to do with your site, though. So perhaps figuring that out is the first order of business.

Keep in touch.

John Barrie said...


Hi- We have exchanged emails in the past, but somehow I lost your address. I design new sustainable and appropriate technologies for both rural and urban poor. You commented on one of our solar light designs once.

I am giving a talk in Singapore next week at the Futuropolois 2058 conference. Part of my talk will be about the billion or so folks who are going to migrate from rural to urban areas for the first time and that we need to consider designing for this group too.

(I think the conference is focused largely on cool new sustainable technologies)

I'd love to use some of your images from the cities where you stayed while researching Shadow Cities. I'd certainly give credit for the images and recommend your book.

As always, keep up the great work.

John Barrie