slideshow image for The Inevitable Shape of Cities

The Inevitable Shape of Cities

I usually have a good sense of direction but while walking through this area I feel lost.

I walk through a seemingly endless sprawl of dwellings in an area south of old Cairo called Fustat. It's densely built up with three to four storey houses. I notice the lower floors are made up of walls made of red exposed bricks while the higher floors are nothing but a open concrete structure. The buildings seem to be in an eternal stalemate, incomplete skeletal, housing the residential mass of Cairo.
In the narrow alleyways between the settlements I see children playing in the streets. There are Internet cafe's, hole in the wall shops, and local coffee shops where men sit around watching TV, smoking their water pipes like I all over Cairo.
The difference in this neighbourhood is its unpaved walkways as they expand and contract making sudden twists and turns. I usually have a good sense of direction but while walking through this area I feel lost, unable to find any logical layout of the district. There are no main roads to follow and those that I do follow end like little mountain streams hitting into blind walls or fields of garbage suddenly enclosing the space.
Even though I have never visited this particular neighbourhood, the chaotic infrastructure reminds me of similar districts I visited in China's Pearl River Delta and other world cities. It seems there is an inevitable shape in the way cities grow

See for further reading, Crystallization of Chaos (Models of City Growth)
















































edit Googlemap
Longitude:

Latitude:

Zoom:

Gmap:


Point:
Point:

Longitude:

Latitude: