Emancipating Informality

The center will act as a nucleus of change in the community. Its main task is to empower the people to be active in participation hence It will serve actively the immediate needs of the community and mediate the relationship between the inhabitants and the actors who seek change in informal settlements.
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Designer(s) : Hossam Gamal Elyamani

University : Hochschule Anhalt

Tutor(s) : Ivan Kucina



Informality is a global phenomenon generally caused by the inadequacy of top-down policies and the inefficiency of rules and regulations all around
the world. The Informal areas and their dwellers became marginalized and faced not only political inequality but also social exclusion. The daily activities of informal dwellers are hindered mainly by the poor living environment and infrastructure and result in social exclusion. Since most inhabitants living there are poor, they struggle to survive with dignity, prosperity, and peace. Addressing the socio-economic well-being of the informal areas’ dwellers is a must.

My research aims to address the core and larger issues of informality in greater Cairo (Giza) while understanding the potential of the status quo and decoding the complex system that already exists in informal areas to resolve the patterns of a community and develop others to achieve justice and equality to the physical and social reality in informal areas.

Research Questions

• What is the informality phenomenon? And what are the socio-economic problems associated with it?
• How did the historical and global events contribute to the informality phenomenon?
• Who are the actors involved in informal areas?
• How did authorities and government intervene in informal areas?
• How did private providers intervene in informal areas?
• What is the role of inhabitants in the informal economy and social aspects?
• How can people break the syndrome of powerlessness associated with informality?
• What is the mechanism to empower people who live in informal areas?
• How will an informal society achieve an effective community organization?
• What is the intelligent model of participatory planning?
• What are the patterns and activities that could happen in the intelligent participatory model in a meeting point to achieve socioeconomic wellbeing?

The Egyptian political system in the last seventy years caused the syndrome of powerlessness, people who live in informal areas are effectively trapped in a subculture of poverty, and it prevents effective participation in society’s major institutions. they have no power in the political arena and no voice.

The model used by private providers like GTZ promotes participation on the local level but the issue with this model is that it cannot classify as a sustainable process because the government is used to facilitate and mobilize the process and one study finds that The Participation process did not continue after the GIZ left these areas.

How can we architects resolve the informal complex system for future wellbeing?

Empowerment of the marginalized groups is a must, and this will ensure the continuation of the participation process. This will require a structural transformation of economic and political relations. towards a democratized society in an autocratic state. “a new political imaginary” of empowerment. once this is achieved, actors and stakeholders will be active players in the participatory planning process.

A new participatory model conducted by Egyptian researchers is to be a platform prototype concept for the Egyptian informal societies. As one of the primary elements and activities is initiating the space and place where people will come together and share democracy.

Before making people participate in the planning process, linking them to their systems is even more necessary. this link will start with the political factor by discussing with them their roles and duties towards their communities and government.

The Methodology to achieve this environment is inspired by the work of Christopher Alexander, using a pattern language for the multi-service centre, several patterns and activities to prepare people for participating by empowering them should function collectively in an organized manner with a general function of the multi-service centre that has a purpose and a direction and enjoys a great deal of internal order to emancipate the various forms and forces of informality.

The multi-service centre Should contain several patterns and activities to prepare people for participating by empowering them.
The developed patterns and activities consist of three categories
1. Local patterns and existing activities
2. Participation patterns and activities
3. Global Patterns inspired by Christopher Alexander pattern language (the study of Multi-service centers)

The output patterns and activities should function collectively in an organized manner in a form of social movement features. Some activities work collectively to emancipate the various forms and forces of informality.

Informal Pattern language
Design the process



03-Mediating border CONDITION

04-Extended economic activities







How will Community projects serve the community and its needs for future wellbeing?

The centre will act as a nucleus of change in the community. The idea is to create a loop of chain reactions or events, for example, a problem will be introduced Then people can gather and demonstrate to announce the problem to the public Then town meetings and discussions will be held in the arena, and then the work will be funded in a form of a community project to serve the specific purpose. It will work to build data about the problem and use the existing informal network in addition to its connection with NGOs and international org. and governmental officials so that they can truly serve the people and their needs. And this process will happen again and again.


The development in the next 30 years should follow a certain sequence and the proposal is not rigid or inflexible. The purpose is to showcase what the future will look like?

The project will be developed in a certain sequence depending on the availability of resources and financial funds. It always allows future expansion. Serving the community and the people for the future socio-economic well-being. The future of well-being in informal settlements will be achievable
when people learn how to be part of the whole society and how to be organized and empowered enough to break the loop of informality.