Impact of politics on the planning of the New Desert City of Toshka in Egypt

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Through the last few years, Egypt witnessed turbulent political changes in the form of two successive revolutions in 2011 and 2013. This was preceded by several decades of a strong central ruling culture. Although, wide aspirations and hope for a new decentralized governance system have prevailed following the recent revolutions, much of the traditional central system still prevails. Such environment is strongly evident within the city planning disciplines. When it comes to planning new cities in different regions, decisions are still taken in Cairo. Such decisions are not correct all the time, owing to the argument that most Heads of the different planning bodies, do not really have a final say in the planning decisions even if these are based on solid contextual studies. Many of them are concerned from the consequences of defying the upper heads of the physical planning authorities. This paper attempts to analyze the dynamics of the urban planning decision taking when it comes to new city planning, within a highly central and bureaucratic institutional environment. The analysis is done within the case study of the New Desert city of Toshka in the South West of Egypt, intended to be the main service center for a new rural community that had been initiated based on a national project in the 1990s to transfer the Nile water to the desert through an artificial canal. The cycle of this project passed through different periods of stagnation and activity within three successive regimes in Egypt.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015
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