Scholarly article on topic 'Transformation Through Sustainable Qualification: A Sustainable Railway Neighbourhood in Ramses Area'

Transformation Through Sustainable Qualification: A Sustainable Railway Neighbourhood in Ramses Area Academic research paper on "Social and economic geography"

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{"Sustianbale urban neighbourhood" / "urban transformation" / brownfield / "Ramses railway area"}

Abstract of research paper on Social and economic geography, author of scientific article — Gehan Ahmed Nagy Radwan, Manal M.F. El-Shahat

Abstract Since the revolution of 25th of January 2011, Egypt is going through a transition phase. Different planning policies all over Egypt and especially for Greater Cairo are undergoing a transformation process, not only on the political levels but also on the environmental, social, behavioural and economic levels. A new planning vision is needed to assure a sustainable way of life. Hence, this paper attempts to adapt the sustainable urban development policies applied in “Bahnstadt” Railway suburb in Heidelberg, Germany to the case of Ramses Railway neighbourhood in Downtown Cairo. It also attempt to set guideline strategies for a sustainable urban neighbourhood prototype in Cairo.

Academic research paper on topic "Transformation Through Sustainable Qualification: A Sustainable Railway Neighbourhood in Ramses Area"

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Procedía - Social and Behavioral Sciences 68 (2012) 481 - 503

AicE-Bs 2012 Cairo ASIA Pacific International Conference on Environment-Behaviour Studies Mercure Le Sphinx Cairo Hotel, Giza, Egypt, 31 October - 2 November 2012 "Future Communities: Socio-Cultural & Environmental Challenges"

Transformation through Sustainable Qualification: A sustainable railway neighbourhood in Ramses area

Gehan Ahmed Nagy Radwan3*, Manal M. F. El-Shahatb

a The Higher Technological Institute, 10th of Ramadan City, Egypt _b Department for Urban planning and Desig, Faculty of Engineering, Ain Shams University, Egypt_


Since the revolution of 25th of January 2011, Egypt is going through a transition phase. Different planning policies all over Egypt and especially for Greater Cairo are undergoing a transformation process, not only on the political levels but also on the environmental, social, behavioural and economic levels. A new planning vision is needed to assure a sustainable way of life. Hence, this paper attempts to adapt the sustainable urban development policies applied in "Bahnstadt" Railway suburb in Heidelberg, Germany to the case of Ramses Railway neighbourhood in Downtown Cairo. It also attempt to set guideline strategies for a sustainable urban neighbourhood prototype in Cairo.

© 2012 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selection and peer-review under responsibility of the Centre for Environment-Behaviour Studies (cE-Bs), Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying , Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia.

Keywords: Sustianbale urban neighbourhood; urban transformation; brownfield; Ramses railway area

1. Introduction

Cairo is one of the most densely populated capital cities in the world with a population of approximately 17 million people (Cairo-Egypt population, 2007-2011). The increasing pressure of the population on the existing built environment and infrastructure called for a significant urban and spatial change. The lack of adequate urban management through this change led to the deterioration of the existing city and the chaotic urbanisation of the city's outskirts. The historic city and the adjacent districts face increasing poverty, loss of heritage and identity and general degradation in the quality of life. (Bott,

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +20(0)122 2345729 Email address:

1877-0428 © 2012 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selection and peer-review under responsibility of the Centre for Environment-Behaviour Studies (cE-Bs), Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.12.243

Gangler and El-Shahat, 2009) Moreover, the City Centre and Downtown Cairo fail to perform their main connection function as they are overwhelmed with users and commuters.

In light of the political, social and economic transformation triggered by the 25th of January revolution, Cairo is on the verge of a new era. An era in which, a comprehensive sustainable vision is essential. Thus, this paper strives to achieve a socially responsible, environmentally friendly and economically successful future development while retaining the unique character and identity of its districts and cities.

1.1. Problem definition: preview appendix a: definition related to the research theme)

Over the previous decades all over Egypt, there was nearly no attention paid from the governmental policies towards sustainable urban planning development. There were no clear initiatives that promote sustainable living both on the local or the national and the regional city planning. The research is to investigate and monitor the concepts and strategies behind achieving Bahnstadt project as one of the well-known sustainable district (Passive house district) in Europe. It is to determine the tools that can be learned from this case in order to be contextualised and applied on the case of Ramses area in Cairo.

1.2. Case study areas selection

The research tackles a comparative analysis of two important cases, where redevelopment projects of a Brownfield area near or behind a railway main station are to be initiated. One of the two cases, namely in the global north cities (Heidelberg, Germany), was approached from the beginning with a clear vision for sustainable qualification strategies. The other case in the global south - Ramses area in central Cairo, Egypt - was considered in the same time as in Heidelberg as a potential area for development; however the redevelopment initiatives and competitions in Ramses did not target sustainability and furthermore is not yet implemented.

The selection of these two cases is based on that both areas had the potential of functional transformation through sustainable urban development. Other criteria of selection can be understood from the following table (1.) either within the urban context of both areas or the initiatives of the redevelopment competition announced in the last decades. This table shows the relevance between the compared two case studies and the urban development process and progress will be described in detail later in the time plane schedule (Fig. 18.).

Table 1. Case studies selection criteria's relevancies

Criteria of comparison Heidelberg Ramses Remarks on the Ramses Case

The Urban context

Attached to the old, historical and central city district. It has also its own identity as a potential Yes Yes Both have a long and valuable history and heritage, which identify the area.

The area has direct connection to the main Yes Yes Bahnstadt on behind the city main station.

Railway Station Ramses near to the city main station.

The area has been left unused for a long time (Brownfield land) Yes Yes See Brownfield definition in Annex.

The area is considered since the end of the No On the academic scale, Some universities

20th century as a potential to redeveloped within the whole urban context Yes Was not clearly defined by the city as potential selected the area of Ramses as student semester project to develop ideas of urban redevelopment.

The location of the area within a rich and diverse urban context Yes Yes Ramses is a transportation and business central hub. It is surrounded by various functional and liveable urban neighbourhoods.

Development Projects & Competitions

The redevelopment planning of the area is inspired from the regional sustainable strategic urban development. Yes Clearly starting from 1997 No Cairo's planning authorities did not develop regional sustainable strategies reports yet

The first intervention through national or international competition Yes in 2001 Yes in 2008 In Ramses case, previous attempts were only approaching the square in 2006. However the competition in 2008 approached the whole area.

The competition - terms of references TOR - clearly target sustainable development ideas and approaches Yes No was not clearly defined * * The research highlights the lack of well-defined TOR vision targeting directly the various sustainable development strategies. Annex TOR

City authorities and councils were defined for the project monitoring and implementing process of the results of the competition Yes Refer to Fig. 18. Step in 2003 and in 2006 No NOUH announced the competition in cooperation with the government; however the authorities for monitoring and implementing process of the winning project are not defined.

The urban development plans of the winners have been reviewed and modified. Yes No The winning project cannot be realised

The urban and construction development took place and still in progress. The area getting its new residence in 2011. Yes No The winning project was left on paper, and the area is still empty while it is still being a great potential.

The additional urban development projects within the area are based on the city Sustainable visions and strategies. Yes No

1.2.1. Case study areas' description

Ramses Railway station in Cairo is the main rail entrance and the main hub for transportation in Cairo where commuters arrive and leave all year round. North east of the railway station lies a former warehouse (a brownfield land) area. This brownfield zone displays exceptional potential for urban transformation. Conscious restructuring of the existing rail service buildings and creative urban planning approaches could lead to freeing approximately 7.28 hectare of land. This is a tremendous opportunity towards the urban upgrade of the suburb and if wisely used could lead to a sustainable urban development in the area.

Similarly, "Heidelberg Bahnstadt" Railway Suburb in Heidelberg is the new railway suburb behind the main station. The urban development scheme transformed the former railway area to a sustainable urban. Hence, it resembles the new railway district suburb in Ramses where although part of it is totally vacant from any structures, but the built up zone of Ramses put to use the existing public and multifunctional structures as an emphasiser of identity.

2. Ramses Railway Area, Cairo, Egypt

Ramses area is well known by the main station "Ramses Station", previously named as Bab El-Hadid. The entrances and exits on the southern side of the main station open directly onto Ramses square. The brownfield area of Ramses extends from the station and the square parallel to the rail and metro (underground) lines till Ghamra district. This linear area is defined from the north-western side by the rail lines on the ground level and the 6th of October flyover. It is also connected from the south-eastern side with Ramses Street, which is considered as a main arterial axis linking the city centre with the eastern districts of Cairo (e.g. Heliopolis) and the international airport.

This section will first start by identifying the location of Ramses area within the city and the urban context, in addition to, its relation of Ramses Square, where Ramses II statue previously stood. This followed by, a historical background of the area and the historical eras that affected it. Then, the study goes through the SWOT analysis to reveal the various Weaknesses of Ramses square itself and the study area, and moreover, to point out the opportunities and potentials for the new development approaches.

Finally, the research of the Ramses case-study ends with a review of the different endeavours for urban development of Ramses area and a criticism of the proposed urban competition's terms of references and discussion of its results.

2.1. Location within the city and the urban context

Ramses is located in the heart of Cairo; it includes a railway station and a square that bare the same name. (Fig 1 & 4) Ramses area went through a history of urban changes, which resulted in a diverse built environment and urban pattern. The resulting heritage and varied urban fabric act as a challenge when attempting to plan a homogenous urban neighbourhood in the area. The study area starts directly from the north eastern edge of the Ramses station and extends along the rail lines, as a strip land, of 250 meter width and almost 1 100 meter long, to cover a total area of 7.28 hectare. (Fig 2)

Fig. 1. The Case study area map. Ramses and Metro Station are identified in red (Source: First winner Ramses international competition report, AREP + BECT, 2009)

Fig. 2. Panoramic view for the case study area, 'Mahmasha' to the northeast of Ramses railway station (Source : Photo by Ahmed Abd El Aziz, August 2012)

2.2. Background of Ramses area

In the late Islamic period, Ramses area was the northwest edge of the mediaeval town and the main entrance to the historic Islamic city. (Abu-Lughod, 1971) The train station was built in the first half of the 19th century, in front of this entrance. (Fig. 3 (b) & Fig. 5) The area acquired its name from the Ramses II statue that stood till year 2005 in the middle of the square. (Fig. 4 & Fig. 5) Nowadays, Ramses square and its surroundings are a vital part of Downtown Cairo CBD). They act as a meeting node between the western Khedive areas, south-eastern Islamic historicalareas and the northern quarters (Shoubra district) beyond the tracks. (Fig. 7) Consequently, it is the crossing point of various public transportation means, private cars, and thousands of commuters every day. (Morsi, 2008)

Fig. 3. (a) Ramses II Statue stayed in the square till 2006; (b) The development of the gate of (Ramses square) from

pre-Islamic period to the present solution

Source: (a) Morsi (2008); (b) Bott, Gangler& ElShahat (2009)

Fig. 4. (a) Flyover 6th of October crossing the square. Source, Bott, Gangler& ElShahat (2009) (b) Aerial view of Ramses square area (Source, Morsi,2008)

2.3. SWOT Analysis of Ramses area and its surroundings: Table 2

The Ramses area offers immense potential of abandon former railway territory for new city development. (Fig. 6) As previously mentioned, this area is considered as a Brownfield that could be reused and transformed into a sustainable neighbourhood with high quality of life. Hence, it is not a matter of planning a modern urb^ quarter, to to nurture the existing 'historic urban' context. The revitalisation of such area, contributes to sustainable urban development; as it makes better use of the land for the citizen's

welfare, and creates a more attractive area for companies to settle down. The surrounding areas of Ramses square and the city centre (CBD) will pave the road for a sustainable future. The Green spaces, historical buildings, commercial areas, metro line transportation, in addition to, the existing railway station, are some of the key opportunities in the development of the new railway neighbourhood.

Fig. 5. The development of the gate of (Ramses square) from pre-Islamic period to the present solution (Source: Bott, Gangler& ElShahat, 2009)

Fig. 6. (a) Case study area showing railway garages. Photographer Ahmed Abd El Aziz (August 2012); (b) Google Earth View for the Case study location (August 2012 )

2.3.1. Weakness and Threats of the Ramses area

Ramses square is the busiest square in Egypt; 28 000 Pedestrians and nearly 2 million cars and microbuses pass the square every eight hours. The current situation of this important site is on functional aspects chaotic and in terms of its spatial quality a disaster. A lot of problems have emerged throughout the previous decades on different levels: (Morsi, 2008)

• Multi layers of traffic network: an elevated highway and looped ramps dismember the spatial continuity of the square. Highly frequented traffic lanes separate the main station and its square from Downtown Cairo and Old Cairo. The underpasses - leading to the underground stations and to the main train station building- are littered, poorly light and lack ventilation. (Fig. 4 (a))

• Accessibility and Pedestrian Network: the Current traffic system disregards the pedestrian flow entirely. This is evident in the undefined pedestrian paths and lack of meeting points or spaces for public activities.

• Visual aspects: on the visual level; the whole space lacks unity. The main elevated highway cuts through the space blocking any visual continuity.

• Pollution and environmental damage: the environmental damage is caused by littering from the pedestrian, the emissions from transportation in the square and the limited green spaces.

• Informal jobs and street traders: the place brings crowds of people together and so it is a strategic location for informal jobs and trades. Currently, the square is a jungle of informal traders.

• Parking spaces: There are no suitable parking spaces with the capacity to suit all users of the area. This opposes the sustainable concept of "park and ride".

Fig. 7. Different Urban Fabric Patterns Surrounding Ramses Square (Source: Bott, Gangler& ElShahat, 2009)

2.3.2. Opportunities and Strengths in the Ramses neighbourhood

The strategic location of the Ramses area and the presence of the railway station in it make it the most qualified area in Cairo to be converted into a sustainable railway neighbourhood. This encourages the concept of sustainable mixed uses activities district connected to the Central Cairo. The new building structures, as well as, the central location of Ramses will make it an attraction point for active companies at regional and national level.

The new structures should be complementary to the existing old structures both function and form wise. On terms of Accessibility, Transportation and mobility; The Ramses Station area has the potential to connect heterogeneous realms in Central Cairo and open up a link to the Western and Northern quarters

beyond the tracks. (Morsi, 2008) (Fig. 7) It also has strong links with all major squares in the city centre, namely Tahrir and Ataba squares, especially after the relocation of the Statue of Ramses II.

Table 2. (S.W.O.T) analysis of Ramses Square


Good Infrastructure Network Lack of Green Spaces Presence of many company headquarters Physical Barriers

Central Location in Cairo City Different and opposing Urban tissue Presence of many commercial facilities Noise and Ecological pollution

Various existing facilities in the Square The pressure of population growth Historical and cultural values Poor connections for pedestrians

Already existing Train stations The pressure of traffic growth Great tourist attraction Complex history that needs preservation

Transportation Network Hub Transportation Network Hub Transportation Network Hub Lack of service facilities

(Source: Morsi, 2008)

2.4. Ramses urban development projects

The National Organization for Urban Harmony (NOUH), Ministry of Arts and Culture in cooperation with Cairo Governorate are studying the possibility of creating a central business district (CBD) to be the historical and the main centre of the greater Cairo. Documentation and rehabilitation interventions of the historical buildings and streets urban features and furniture are mainly their approaches for the CBD. In 2006, the square was ready to be redesign, where Ramses Statue had been removed. Consequently, the government of Cairo assigned to an experienced and consultation architecture office the planning of Ramses square. The outcome didn't satisfy the government officials as it did not tackle the exact problems that the area is suffering from.

2.4.1. The 1st Competition for the square and the Railway area: (Fig. 8)

Fig. 8. Conceptual plan of the First prize winning project of Ramses International competition (NOUH) (Source: AREP + ,BECT Offices, 2009)

Lately in 2008, NOUH launched an international competition searching for urban development ideas for Ramses Square and the vacant land adjacent to the railway station. The main aim of the competition was to solve the transportation problems in the square while; planning a new urban business district on the nearby brownfield area was a secondary aim as mentioned in the TOR. (Review Appendix B -Ramses Competition Terms of References (TOR)).

2.4.2. Criticism to the competition results

By the end of 2008, the winning projects were declared. The first prize project proposed transforming the area of 7.28 hectare, located under the 6th of October flyover, into a central urban park. (Sabry, 2009) and (AREP - BECT, 2009) They also proposed of removing of the 6th of October flyover in an attempt to free the whole area visually and functionally from crowds and traffic congestion. The NOUH claimed that the implementation process will start in one year time. The prime minister alleged that a team of expertise, from the General Organisation for Physical Planning 'GOPP', will start directly identifying the financial implementation programme of the project. (Sabry, 2009) Unfortunately, the responsible authority and the owners of the area of the competition were undefined. Moreover, the governmental authorities recognised that the winning project was not applicable due to serious technical problems.

In addition, the aims and scope of the competition mentioned in the TOR were not clearly defined. The competition did not include clear vision for the whole project area within Cairo's urban context. The main focus of the TOR was concentrating on re-planning approaches of Ramses Square, without considering the sustainable approaches for such development.

3. Heidelberg Bahnstadt" - Railway suburb: (Fig. 9)

The name Bahnstadt -Railway Suburb- reflected the identity of the area. This chosen name made use of the great potential of the area being accessible and well connected with its surrounding; in addition, it integrated the existing infrastructures around and inside the area in the plan. It also reflects the linearity and infinity of the space. The urban transformation process of the existing railway facility buildings, which are formed linear to the rails and garages inside the area gave more value to the space, added to the urban configuration plans and emphasise the identity of the area. The following section, will handle the case study of Heidelberg - similarly to the analysis of the Ramses case study - in terms of the location of the area within the city and its relation to the historic core of the old city, the background about the area. Then it justifies why the city of Heidelberg choose to develop this area. It also highlights the process of the whole and the partial competitions set for the area 'Bahnstadt' and its results. The section is then concluded by a review of the visions and guidelines in Heidelberg - Bahnstadt project.

Fig. 9. A view of Heidelberg city on the Necker River, Stadt Heidelberg

Fig. 10. Map of Germany shows the state of Badenwürrtemberg, and the city of Heidelberg

3.1. Location within the city and the urban context

Heidelberg is located in the north of the state of Baden-Württemberg (the southwest state of Germany). The city dates back to 500 BC and is considered the oldest settlements in the region. (Venancio in Bott, 2012) It is a small city with approximately 148 000 inhabitants. It is one of the biggest cities of the new Metropolitan region Rhine-Neckar in Baden-Württemberg state. (Fig. 9 a & b) The urban structure of city is significantly influenced by its history, its very old and well-known university and variety of national and international scientific institutions. Although, it was not destroyed in the Second World War, it still holds its cohesive historical old town with the castle over the hill, which is integrated into a picturesque landscape of the city. Apart from this historical importance, Heidelberg is participating in the "City of the Future" international competition. (Von der Malsburg, 2007)

Heidelberg Bahnstadt or the railway Suburb is located directly behind the main station of Heidelberg city and extends southwest of the station. Different train-lines pass through the city as one of the most prestigious medical universities is situated in it. The previously railway carriages and goods and shunting premises are locating to the west of the railway main station of Heidelberg. (Fig. 10 & 11)

3.2. Background of Heidelberg railway area

Heidelberg city aimed to transform this new project of Bahnstadt into the largest Passive-House development in the world. Since 1997, the city local government policy has been oriented towards setting guidelines for sustainable urban development. The city has focused over the last few years in particular on conversion and transformation of former industrial areas (brownfield areas), such as the Schlossquell brewery. The urban transformation of land development was carried out on the former site of the old Fuchs wagon factory, the old hospital, and on the site of Heidelberger printing press "Druckmaschinen Fabrik" directly beside the main station.

Fig. 11. (a) Railway City, site map of Bahnstadt Suburb within the urban context; (b) Aerial view of Bahnstadt

Suburb within the city of Heidelberg.

(Source: (a); (b) Stadt Heidelberg Railway City, 2007)

A New Technology Park and a Campus will be constructed in the area. Young scholars from all around the world headed to live and teach there which gave the new suburb its renowned name. The city development plan of Heidelberg expects to attract more than 12 000 People to the Bahnstadt district. (Venancio in Bott 2012) The district will accommodate 5 000 to 6 000 inhabitants and provides approximately 7 000 new job opportunities. (Stadt Heidelberg und Stadtplanungsamt, Mai 2007) The arrival of the first inhabitants was originally planned for the year 2006/2007. Legal disputes between the city and the landowner - the railway property companies Aurelis - delayed the launch of the project. In 2009, foundations were laid for the first and second phase implementation areas. In 2012, the first residents moved into the suburb. (Expo Real, 2012)

3.3. The Bahnstadt urban development projects and competitions

3.3.1. A Call for a Sustainable Urban Neighbourhood

An urban planning competition for the area of 116 hectares located to the southwest of the present main railway station was announced in 2001. The competition called for a vision for the new city district 'Bahnstadt'. The planning area included areas of DB AG rail, the cargo station and a former warehouse. The city of Heidelberg intended, together with the German Railway Company ((Deutsche Bahn) DB AG), to develop a mixed-use, future-oriented urban district with a unique identity, character and a high quality of life. (Fig 12) The main competition task was to develop planning concepts, which linked the back of the railway station with the "central" historic core of Heidelberg. The overall plan had to demonstrate ecological sustainability, social stability and economic feasibility. (Stadt Heidelberg und Stadtplanungsamt, Mai 2007). In 2008, a second competition of a residential area (living at the promenade) was announced. After two years in 2010, the Bahnstadt integrated new concepts - the 3rd competition for nursery (kindertagesstatte auf Schwetzinger Terrasse) - took place. All these series of competition assignments were set to comply with the main visions and concepts of the whole city district of Bahnstadt. The city council approaches a simultaneous development process of infrastructure, homes

and jobs in order to ensure the sustainability of the planned urban district. Therefore, the implementation and construction phases were planned to run concurrently. (Friedrich, Annette et. al., 2005)

The transportation and street infrastructure took first priority as the base phase of the new city. The connection with the southern quarters took place in the first implementation phase in order to enable the development of the southern area (the first residential areas). Public transportation connections between Heidelberg main station and the southern neighbourhoods were also developed parallel to ii. This ensured the environment and ecological approaches for a sustainable urban neighbourhood. Thus, The Railway suburb became easily accessible from the main station as well as from the surrounding neighbourhood.

The city council brought together, in the first and the second phases, three master plans for the railway suburb: campus, living on the promenade (Wohnen an der Promenade) and the retail centre (Fachmarktzentrum). (Fig. 13 a & b)

In 2009, the construction of the Campus in the central area began. The entrance area from the main station was first configured, as an urban functional space, to be the centre of science and industry, where research institutions and science-related companies were located. Yet the campus will extends to include an urban mix of uses: retail trade, office spaces, research institutions, restaurants and cafes, hotels, sports facilities. It is planned to form a sufficient environment in which people can feel at home. (Heidelberg Bahnstadt - EGH, 2012)

Fig. 12. 'Bahnstadt' Railway city, Mixed landuse: city of science, market-crnfre, campus II, residential 'living at the promenade', etc...

(Source: Städtebauliche Rahmenplanung, Stadt Heidelberg, 2007)

Fig. 13. (a) ; (b) 'Bahnstadt' Railway city, implementation and planning phases

(Source: (a) Friedrich, Annette et. al., 2005; (b) Städtebauliche Rahmenplanung, Stadt Heidelberg, September 2007)

3.3.2. Main aspects to the competition results:

The first prize was awarded to Trojan + Trojan office in Darmstadt along with the office Retzko, Topp + Partner. The winning urban design gave a flexible framework plan and met the demands of further innovated planning development. In 2003, the city of Heidelberg in cooperation with the winner and the Aurelis real estate GmbH & Co. KG, the owner of the railway developed area, and the municipal council revised the urban design. They developed a master plan and an urban development framework based on the winning competition. It had a balanced and incremental urban transformation process and was integrated in the morphology of the city of Heidelberg. (Von der Malsburg, 2007) The master plan included the future city layouts and the land use plan, open spaces and the traffic network concept of the railway town. (Fig. 12 & Fig. 18 Time plan development of Bahnstadt and Ramses urban projects and competitions)In 2006, a special town planning development scheme was issued that allows any city to implement its town planning objectives if and when it is in the public interest. It is designed to enable the re-use of vacant lands and brownfields to cater for the needs of the residences. (Wiegandt, ClausChristian, 1997) Siebielec, 2012) From the point of view of the research, the action of editing the building codes, done by the city planning authorities in cooperation with the city of Heidelberg, is considered as a crucial step for sustainable development. Bahnstadt is the key project for sustainable development in the city (Office of city development and Statistics, 2007) and is considered as a special case of planning; therefore, exceptions such as modifications of building codes were a logical action in order to achieve sustainability.

Fig. 14. (a) The first winning project Trojan + Trojan office in Darmstadt (2003); (b) Google maps of'Bahnstadt' Railway city shows the current situation. The city construction phases are still processing.

3.3.3. Visions and guidelines of the Sustainable Development Concepts

Heidelberg started to develop concepts of sustainability since 1997. The main target- among other general targets was the reduction of CO2 emissions with 20 % till 2015. (Venancio in Bott 2012) Heidelberg city planning authorities produced a target and guideline report of the urban development plan (STEP 2010 - STadt Entiwcklungs-Plan). The sustainable targets and guidelines of STEP comprised nine main divisions: urban design approach, work, housing, environment, mobility, social-, cultural-, regional cooperation and demographic- change. (Fig. 15)

Stadtentwicklungsplan Heidelberg 2010 I 2015

27.000 Arbeitsplätze zumindest zu halten

CO2 Emissionen 20 % verringern

+ 8.000 Wohnungen (wegen +4.3% Einwohner)

Verringerung des Zuwachses an Wohnfläche pro Kopf auf maximal 2.5

Fig. 15. Heidelberg -City Urban Development Plan towards sustainability STEP 2010 and targets till 2020 (Source: Venancio in Bott, 2012)

Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar

Fig. 16. Heidelberg - City Urban Development Plan 2015 (Source: Venancio in Bott, 2012)

According to the STEP targets and guidelines, there are many initiatives and projects to be implemented by 2015-2020; among them the railway suburb (Bahnstadt), which lies under the demographic and social- change sectors. (Fig. 16) In terms of sustainable urban development, the winning prize concept offers an environment that: has a high quality of life, attracts science and research centers and provides affordable housing, family-friendly structures, and various shopping and recreational opportunities. Concerning the urban spaces and the structure of the built areas, the city's footprint and traffic systems show a hierarchical network of roads ranging from high to low dense roads. It is a suburb

2006 2007

1997 2001

within Heidelberg's organic structures that suits the historical old area and secures interaction and accessibility with the surrounding neighbourhoods. (Review Fig. 10 & 11) The development plan adopted sustainable energy concepts

These concepts composed of three core areas: (Expo Real, 2012)

• Efficient building standards; construction must comply with the passive house standard.

• Efficient energy supply; all required energy is to be generated through renewable energy sources.

• Efficient implementation; the city of Heidelberg developed a counselling approach to ensure quality assurance procedures, and the high demands on the energy standards "Passive House".

4. Discussion and the research results:

4.1. The comparison between Ramses Neighbourhood and Heidelberg Subrub

The paper methodology is based on a comparative analysis between Ramses and Heidelberg Railway Station as shown in the Time plan comparative diagram of both cases. Although, the area of Ramses is 7.28 hectare, which is small in terms of scale compared to Bahnstadt (116 hectare), but both cases have similar configurations and potentials, which enable Ramses case as well as Cairo's future visions to benefit from the Bahnstadt and Heidelberg experience. (Fig. 18)

The time plan 'comparative chart' shows a detailed urban development process and its progress in both case studies. It indicates, on one hand, that the successful experience of the Heidelberg competition process and the development of sustainable urban policies were due to a defined scheduled sequence and a clear vision since 1997. It clearly highlights, on the other hand, the lack of a sustainable vision of urban development projects and competition's TOR in the case of Ramses since 1990s compared to Heidelberg. The first attempt towards re-planning and redeveloping the whole area including Ramses square took place in 2008 by announcing the international competition. It is worth mentioning that the area still remains undeveloped up till now. The Ramses experience showed a shallow process, as there is no clear or holistic strategic planning for Cairo approaching such potential areas (Brownfield areas) by functional and urban transformation through sustainable qualification.

Ramses sustainable neighbourhood needs to be developed according to sustainable strategies and fellow a defined clear development process. New construction, reconstruction, and deconstruction process must provide maximum flexibility. This neighbourhood is not only a new job opportunity provider but is also a major contributor coping with the challenges of social, economic and environmental change. Creating a successful plan could be achieved first by identifying the future vision and the conceptual policies and secondly by setting key principles and related strategies.

4.2. Guidelines and lessons: Strategies for transformation through sustainable qualifications

The case of Heidelberg can be used as a guide for the case of Ramses. The obtained guidelines, strategies and key principles would develop a comprehensive innovative process on multiple aspects. Such comprehensive process will lead to the creation of a holistic city development project and a prototype for greater Cairo. This can be achieved as follows:

• creating a neighbourhood with an identity based on the area's characteristics and history;

• developing the area with its unique location into a dense and attractive mixed use neighbourhood;

• offering public open spaces and urban facilities to attract people with different backgrounds other than the residence only;

• assuring that various land uses in the area (housing, businesses, services, and enterprises) should especially contribute to the creation of an integrated city life around neighbourhood centres;

• developing the urban area and constructing the buildings based on environmental and energy considerations and green national codes;

• applying "traffic calming" and "park and ride" policies.

4.2.1. Vision and conceptual policies learned from Bahnstadt case:

The sustainable urban planning process, which is contorted by local and national governments and regional bodies, needs to embrace a holistic understanding of the global sustainable vision. This vision can be clearly identified as "A liveable sustainable neighbourhood with high social quality level". The diagram (Fig 17) shows that an integrated and diverse social infrastructure is the key element towards a sustainable neighbourhood. It also confirms that the social infrastructure must be the core element of this development. The following recommendations aim at providing guidelines for the committee setting the Ramses area competitions' TOR:

• Such vision should be addressed through public competitions, which act as a platform for developing concepts and new models of mobility and accessibility, mixed land use, urban spaces and housing facilities, efficient energy.....etc.

• Competitions should run on phases according to constrains of the existing contextual situations.

• Building codes should be reformed to meet the requirements of sustainable urban planning regulations.

4.2.2. Key principle strategies towards sustainable qualification:

Understanding the different layers of city's structure in the case of Ramses is the key issue in this paper. As a conclusion, this work identifies the different issues related to all these layers and infrastructure elements in regard to sustainable qualification measures. Sustainable Social and economic infrastructure:

The sustainable urban neighbourhood should be a hub of various activities and a forum for the exchange of ideas.

• Land use diversity allows the interaction between different economic strata of the society. Some of the most vital districts accommodate as many as seven to ten primary land uses. (Cherry, 2010)

• Providing interaction within public spaces that act as transition zones in-between different functions.

• Creating a pleasant environment by increasing the pedestrians and cycling path ways with adequate street furniture.

• Locating retail and commercial facilities on the street front.

• The sustainable urban concepts should include: creating transition area (buffer zone) with a suitable mixed use function between the railway lines and the new neighbourhood to preserve the developed area environmentally. Sustainable Networking and Facilities:

Attempts towards sustainable networking infrastructure could be achieved by applying principles of sustainable transportation, decreasing the number of private vehicles, and encouraging the use of public transport. This will reduce pollution generated by gasoline-powered engines, noise, traffic congestion, land devaluation, urban sprawl, economic segregation and accidents. However, good public transportation links are vital for a sustainable new community, which is already existing potential at Ramses area:

• Creating access points for the new railway neighbourhood that provide Interaction with the surrounding areas, Ramses rail way station, other public transport systems as buses, taxis, trams.

• Designing pedestrian friendly streets.

• Providing development and management of parking facilities. Ecological and environmental infrastructure:

The planning process of an environmental and sustainable district has to take place through a learning process that spans through several years and involves not only planners, architects, engineers, builders but also all other stakeholders administrators and users of the area. Ecological and environmental education and awareness programmes are therefore essential in Egypt in order to achieve this sustainable approach. Ecological knowledge and the knowhow of other pilot project can be transferred in order to create a sustainable pilot project in Egypt. Importing such technologies and techniques and also having the potentials of renewable energy sources in Egypt is the key issue toward Environmental orientated concepts. The whole process should aim at:

• minimizing the use of non-renewable resources by using renewable types of energy such as solar energy.

• applying the green building codes on all buildings.

• integration of different techniques such as low-energy (low-tech or high-tech) construction, renewable energy networks of solar energy, photovoltaic cells and wind energy, concepts for water management and other passive cooling and heating techniques.

• establishing a dense green network to reduce the pollution impacts.

• considering all aspects of climate, air, wind directions and noise in the planning policies.

• planning the Water and ground management schemes.

In this manner, Ramses railway neighbourhood would act as a successful prototype keeping people within the city, as well as attracting others from surrounding areas back to the city centre. This would produce a sustainable urban neighbourhood through a transformation process of a Brownfield potential area.

Social Infrastructure

Ecological and Environmental


Sustainable Railway ' Neighbourhood

Key Principle Strategies towards Sustainable Qualifications

Fig. 17. The vision A liveable sustainable neighbourhood with high social quality level, and the layers and infrastructure (Social, Networking and Ecological layers) Key principles strategies towards Railway Neighbouthood (Source: concept and design the authors, pictogram editing by Mohamed Amer)

- Realising potentials and problems

- Setting Visions for th e city planning

- Clear Competition T OR

- First sustainable urban development master plan

- Develop Bahnstadt master plan project

- Integrating all Railway area's authorities.

Concurrent Construction / implementation Phases

Bahnstadt configures its:

- identity

- functions.

- role in the future, and

- way towards Sustainability

Bahnstadt shapes: City of the Future

Heidelberg - Main station: Hie previously used I ami foi formel caina-

ge of goods and shunting railway premises if. being abandoned

Heidelberg Bahnstadt Development

Announcement and evaluation of the first Competition design Railway Subrub City and New Sustainmablc District

Masterplan and Urban development framework plan

Based on the winning urban design conepts

The city council approved

a spécial town planning development seheme

n of Bahnstadt is taking shape

- Formation of the Campus

- The 2nd competition of living ai the promenade

Beginning of eit) construction

- Campus

- Housing Livmg at the Promenade

- Retail inatket center

Bahnsradt new Concepts Is being Integrated

- The 3rd compeiition Tor nursery (kindenagesstf uc auf ScliwcUiugei Tcuasac)

RnhnstoHr k hring ronstrurtwl - n wie* of project«

- the 1st Labor and office buiding (Sky I.abs)

- Slart contracting in the Housig buiding area

- Dauliaus slart establishing the Retail markt centre

- the city council gives names sticcts and spaces in the ai

Bahnstudl - followed scries of projects

- Build the cxteusUon of the crossing platform m (he tiam static« to faeilitale the entrance to the nes Railway city.

- start selling the appartments in the Housing (living at the Promenade)

- start selling the projekt oflWP Rhein-Neckar KG „Campus allines Wohnen"

- Starting with the Housing porject of SOKA BAU

- Stan binding the housing - Living at the Promenade

- dedication of the extension of the crossing platform in the main station - offering good accessibility.

- dedications and opening cermoneies of different projekts in the area

- SkyLabs.

- Stadttoi (City Gate) building to the Railway City from the main station.

- Campus attines Wohnen (Hausing , commercial actmes with passive hause standerds.

- the lirsl Nursery (fCindeitagcstalle aut'dcr Schweninger Tcrnissc)

Bahnstadl - reads for u:

living, eulertammeut. pleasure. workuiK and research next steps of constructions and building the city

Ramses - Main station: I he pievimisly used land foi former carnage

of goods and shunting railway premises is being abandoned , Learning from Heidelberg sustainable city plannin

Bahnstadt visions and sustainable planning proc

Ramses Area - Development and Lrban Design of the Square and

the brownfield land of the railway

Announcement for the liist Competition design

Ramses Area - Hrst Prize Project

Ihc project couldn't be realised

The Egyptian Kevnultion affect all development projects

Restart thinking of Ramses Area need to be developed

s « ^

■S ©

1 § 3 .o

.s •&

Ï e = «

,¿2 h

Fig. 18. Time plan development of the urban projects and competitions in both cases Bahnstadt's and Ramses-Railways abandoned areas since 1997. Learning lessons from Heidelberg (Source: The diagram concept and design is developed and edited by the authors)

4.2.3. Final remarks:

The research indicates that, despite, Egypt has adequate potentials to be a leading country in the Middle-East, in the field of sustainable development; Egypt has no successful model for a sustainable development project due to the lack of clear vision, defined time plan, flexible building codes and regulations, and efficient terms of references of projects and competitions. The paper strived to relocate Egypt's position on the world map of sustainable urban development by learning from other innovative case studies.

5. Further Research

As a result of the paper discussion and final remarks, further research on the different related topics can be considered as following:

• Reviewing and analysing the current national planning strategies to promote sustainable development.

• More research targeting investigations of real sustainable development objectives of successful case studies and direct experience as a learning tool in the developing countries.

• Application using aforementioned guidelines and key principals for preparing and producing competitions and projects terms of reference TOR.

• Research fields on the social infrastructure as a core of the sustainable neighbourhood models.


We would like to express our gratitude to Ahmed Abd El-Aziz, (HTI) for photographing the site area, Eng. Omar Wanas (IUSD) for his assistance in language revision, and Eng. Mohamed Amer (IUSD) for Diagram editing.


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Appendix A. Definitions related the theme of the paper:

A.1. Brownfield Land

Brownfield land is defined as being land that was once used for industry, commercial or even as railway garages but is now vacant or derelict, and land currently in use with known potential for redevelopment.( /previouslydevelopedbrownfield/), ( Based on this definition the challenge in this paper is to bring more land into sustainable use and require intervention to bring these areas back to beneficial use. This can help to make the best use of existing services such as transport. It encourages more sustainable lifestyles by providing an opportunity to recycle land, and assist environmental, social and economic regeneration. ( The conflict situation would take place if emissions polluting industries from the railways located next to residential area; therefore sustainable and creative planning would help essential in such areas to avoid such problems. (Wiegandt, Claus-Christian, 1997) (in Stakelbeck and Weber, Florian, 2010).

A.2. Sustainable urban development:

Planning for the future lies on such vacant land by reactivation of urban land reserves and redevelopment potentials. Thus, reviewing the original definition for sustainable urban development within the scope of this work is essential. The most commonly used definition of Sustainable Urban Development is originally presented by the Bruntland Report (Our Common Future): "development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". By understanding the pure meaning of sustainable urban development, and identifying the future image of a new railway neighbourhood of Ramses, it helps make the best of all possibilities and gaining the most of all potentials.

Appendix B. Terms of Reference - the national organisation for urban harmony (NOUH) -Ministry for Culture - The International Competition for Urban Design and Harmony of Ramses Square - Cairo -Egypt

A.3. The Competition Aim:

The aim of the competition is to produce an urban design plan for Ramses Square within a comprehensive vision for the city center of Cairo on various levels as shown in figure (1) showing the different zones of study. This should be done after thorough definition of the principle problems facing Cairo city centre especially traffic problems, confusion of uses and all types of pollution (Audio, visual and environmental).

Entrants can also consider the rehabilitation and reuse of buildings, empty properties and open spaces in and around the square to get the best benefit out of it.

Based on the above mentioned problems, the square and its relation to the surrounding activities, open spaces and streets needs other thoughts in its design and planning.

A.4. Scope of the Competition:

1. The Historical urban value of Cairo City Center:

• The history of Cairo city center goes back to the epoch of Khedive Ismail who ruled Egypt from year 1863 till year 1879.

• During this period, distinguished architectural and urban developments were established at the city center site which lies between Aabdeen palace and the River Nile towards the west , passing by Tahrir Square- which was named originally Ismailia Square- and then Ataba Square to the east side.

• The urban pattern of the city center district and its architecture reflect the European character which is considered of cultural and historical value, hence it represents the architectural style of the ninetieth and the beginning of the twentieth century.

2. The Historical Development of Ramses Square:

• The history of Ramses square goes back to the epoch of Mohamed Ali who developed the square to be a large park in 1844. In 1856, at the epoch of Abbas Pasha, the first part of the Station was established, and then in 1858 the second part was completed.

• After the British invasion, the railway station was demolished in 1882 because of the explosion of an ammunition store located at the station building. In 1893 a new station was erected according to advanced Islamic style of architecture designed by architect Edwin Pans. The railways museum and Kobry Lymoon bridge building were also erected in the year 1932.

• The Square includes Fateh Mosque whose minaret is the tallest one in Cairo. This explains that Ramses Square includes a group of buildings of historical & cultural value.

• The Square, which is the competition subject, was named Ramses Square after the statue of Ramses II was transported there in the fifties of the twentieth century, and which was recently transported to its new site close to the new Egyptian museum in the Pyramids district.

3. Problems & Challenges:

• Cairo - one of the biggest capital cities of the world and point of intersection of movement axis between the north and south of the Nile Valley -suffers from population increase, traffic congestion, confusion of uses and functions.

• The problems of Cairo are concentrated at the central area of Cairo business district (CBD) which is known as the active triangle inscribed between the three main squares- Ramses, Ataba and Tahrir squares.

• Ramses Square, the focal point of major movement and transportation modes and lines in Cairo, has different zones of influence, according to fig.

• Ramses Square has been lately subjected to major changes which resulted in increasing attention, being given to its development. This is due to its extremely important location which has great impact on Cairo in general for being the eastern entry point to the city. It also has very strong links with all major squares in the city centre, namely Tahrir & Ataba squares, especially after the relocation of the Statue of Ramses.

4. The proposed urban planning and design should consider the negative impact of existing physical elements such as

Negative physical impacts on the space of the square from the 6th of October flyover which was constructed in the seventies, and also bottlenecks through the pass way of the flyover taking into consideration the difficulty of extending the width of the flyover in some points on the transit route for solving these problems, so a change on the route of 6th of October flyover shall be considered. Negative impact of the new overhead pedestrian bridges which were constructed in the square and did not succeed in fulfilling their purpose to facilitate the movement of pedestrians in all directions. This problem leads to a rethink of other alternatives instead of these bridges.

Bad condition of the current parking lots, in terms of location, capacities, their entrances and exits, which are not satisfying for the traffic loads and the movement of pedestrians. Disorganization of pedestrian traffic in the square, which requires reorganization and consideration from the entrants who can study the possibility of using the existing underground pedestrian tunnels in their proposals.