Branding the City: Questioning Mega Malls as New Magnets of Socio-economic Vitality in New Cities Around Cairo
In accordance with the urban expansion taking place around Greater Cairo since Sadaat’s open economy policies, questions have been raised related to the sustainability of the new settlements. Ranging from New Cairo City to the East and 6th of October to the West the same urban design strategies of low density and horizontal expansions have been applied. However, those urban design strategies did not fulfill the need for alternative independent communities and the vast open spaces are either privatized by real estate companies, mega malls or left vacant. Mega malls- investigated in this research- play the role of the public space in several cases to be investigated here. From one point of view, the mega mall provides services both social and commercial to its customers who can afford to use the facilities. However, this leads to a great dilemma of privatization and branding of public space in new cities. The question raised here is the validity of branding new cities via mega shopping malls. This debate re-questions Jacobs’ theories applied to the Cairene case. The methodology is based on qualitative analysis of two selected case studies for mega malls focusing on the urban setting of the mega malls within the new expansion and its architectural character. Following that, Jacobs’ theories will be briefly reinterpreted according to the urban setting surrounding the mega malls in addition to contemporary theories of social resilience. The conclusion is a group of recommendations to enhance the social vitality of new cities.
KeywordsBranding-cities Mega malls Social resilience Controlled environments New developments around Cairo
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