Urban Heat Islands in Degenerative and Regenerative Cities: Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt

Urban Heat Islands in Degenerative and Regenerative Cities: Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt

Hamdy Hefnawy (Ain Shams University, Egypt), Abeer Elshater (Ain Shams University, Egypt), Mohamed El Fayoumi (Ain Shams University, Egypt), and Natalie Marie Gulsrud (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-2462-9.ch007
OnDemand PDF Download:
No Current Special Offers


This chapter examines a community developed in the early 20th century as a sustainable development paradigm. However, today saw the implementation of particular development plans in some cities in the global south that may not align with this community's long-term goals. Two Delphi rounds and an Envi-Met micro-climate simulation helped researchers of the present work use Heliopolis as a case of investigation. After a Heliopolis' urban development plan competition, this approach's results show a considerable drop in the site's initial values and ecological effect. Surface and mean temperatures and carbon dioxide levels are predicted to decline because of this significant loss. Future studies can look at how local streets become urban boundaries and context segregation because of development plans that cannot regenerate urban areas.
Chapter Preview


Urban planning and design organise and change public spaces by reflecting the socio-morphological aspects of cities (Abusaada & Elshater, 2021b; Moore, 2020). The practice of urban design is concerned with the materiality of places, mixed uses and the changes that happen to steer them toward the desired outcome from the decision-makers’ perspective (Dovey & Pafka, 2017). In some cases, stakeholders in urban projects choose interventions by selecting and combining relevant tactics and solutions to modify public spaces and their socioeconomic dynamics in ways that address regenerative design (Elshater, et al., 2022; Vandenbussche, 2018). A regenerative city is constructed on an environmentally beneficial, vital relationship with the natural systems that provide its resources (Naboni, et al., 2019). A regenerative city fosters a symbiotic, mutually beneficial connection with its hinterland by reducing its environmental impact and actively strengthening and regenerating the productive capacity of the ecosystems on which it depends (Foggin, Brombal, & Razmkhah, 2021; Craft, Ding, & Prasad, 2021).

This chapter tackles the case study of Heliopolis as a place designed to be a regenerative place and how it turned from being human-friendly to a vehicle-friendly city. This transformation could go against regenerative cities to be closer to degenerative. In 1905, Heliopolis was planned based on the European movement of garden cities, seeking a utopia where people could live together with nature in harmony (Dobrowolska & Dobrowolsky, 2007). The idea was to create a self-contained living place surrounded by mixed uses, greenbelts and wetlands while linked to other Cairo districts through railway networks. At the end of construction, this city can provide a person’s daily needs, better opportunities, and quality of life (Abusaada & Elshater, 2021a). Heliopolis had achieved the concept of garden cities as convenient, liveable, and regenerative places, but not for a long time. Through time, Heliopolis has faced waves of dramatic changes in its social context, urban nature, and economic environment (Elshater, Abusaada, & Afifi, 2019).

Today, Heliopolis faces its latest wave of change to its urban nature by implementing a rapid urban infrastructure development and upgrade plan. Admittedly, some significant issues are remarkable, such as the loss of green areas and public spaces, spatial segregation, vehicle dependency, and human safety factors. However, the absence of proactive social, urban, environmental, and economic studies, the lack of transparency, and the fast-track implementation of this plan have accentuated the incomplete planning approach and the contradiction between leadership’s vision and actions on the ground.

This chapter highlights the effect of the significant loss of green areas and increasing vehicle dependence in the Heliopolis context while introducing its predicted consequences and contributions to raising the heat island effect and climate change in Cairo in the long term. In addition, to understand some spatial changes and represent the missing placemaking qualities of some public places in Heliopolis due to unilateral decisions and social exclusion. Therefore, this research selected a site within Heliopolis as a sample of other areas that have been affected and reached by the recent urban development actions under the strategic development plan of Egypt's Vision 2030.

To overcome the research challenges and interpret the problem from different dimensions, the present research integrated data collection methods as a significant advantage in filling the gaps and finding rational answers. This chapter followed four-step procedures. The first used analysed and simulated micro-climate urban heat island effects via the ENVI-Met lite software version. Second, the researchers of the present chapter used tracing satellite images from Google Earth to compare the spatial changes of some sites in Heliopolis throughout different time intervals. Third, the researchers of the current work conducted online questionnaires to determine the level of social satisfaction, concerns, and attachment after completing the plan. Fourth, direct field observation revealed the changes in users’ attitudes during a real-time spatial experience.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: