Tuesday, August 10, 2010
pushing the poor to the fringes
That's the story in Cairo, as documented in this article from the Los Angeles Times. The city is creating a comprehensive development plan, one which residents fear means removal, not renewal.
As one former municipal official told the paper, "The best solution would be first to prevent the spreading of any further slums, then to develop the existing slums from the inside rather than tearing them down." Still, his words ring hollow too: preventing the spread of squatter encampments requires creating a vast supply of affordable housing--something that governments and developers have never shown the ability to do on the scale required.
But officials can, of course, seize land in the same squatter areas for their own purposes. The article ends with the vision of a luxurious new sports facility. But locals "couldn't use it. It was for the children of government and military employees. Membership required."
Thus inequities perpetuate themselves.