Egypt is facing rapid informal development that has reshaped the form and nature of Egyptian cities over the past several decades. In the early-90s the government began preparing plans to develop informal areas in most of the Egyptian governorates. Currently, about 37.5 % of urban mass in Egypt is unplanned with densities of around 500 person / fd while this percent increases to 95% in villages. Many intervention activities target upgrading informal settlements; improving the living conditions of residents and promoting local economic development. Thus the Participatory Development Programme in Urban Areas (PDP) contributed to the first Egyptian Urban Forum held on June 14th-16th 2015 in Cairo.
Under the theme of Urban Planning and Renewal came the Panel is to discuss the various approaches, methodologies and techniques that the Ministry of Urban Renewal and Informal Settlements ( MURIS) is adopting and the gaps and disconnections that affects the effectiveness of upgrading efforts. Add to this the foreseen future and the role of NGOs in improving the conditions of informal areas. Moreover; the panel discussed the most important projects that should be considered while upgrading informal areas in the cultural or service sector.
Dr. Guenther Wehenpohl, PDP Coordinator, was one of the panelists in the “Informal Areas and Low Income Neighborhoods.” Dr. Wehenpohl started his word stating that we have to improve the physical situation in the informal areas as we are all working on behalf of the people living there. Dr. Wehenpohl stated also that people coming from rural areas to the city are only seeking better economical situation, and this is the case why the buildings in the informal areas are getting higher and bigger. He also mentioned that a lot of organizations in Egypt are working in developing the informal areas, and as GIZ is one of the organizations working for the same cause, PDP is one of the programs that has a participatory approach towards developing the informal areas. Meaning that, PDP does the best to get the people involved in the all the activities specially in planning stages so as to get their full support and to recognize and identify their needs within their local communities.
The main governorates that the program is working on are Cairo, Giza and Qalyubia under the intergovernmental agreements that the PDP has with different authorities.