Egypt and Tunisia: Urban Informality, Class, and State Legitimacy

Egypt and Tunisia: Urban Informality, Class, and State Legitimacy

Tuesday, 3 November 2015 - 5:00pm
Venue: 
Lecture Theatre, Investcorp Building, Middle East Centre
Speaker(s): 
David Sims (author of "Egypt's Desert Dreams: Development or Disaster")
Convenor: 
Walter Armbrust
Series: 
MEC Seminar

In Egypt, informal (illegal) development now produces housing for the great majority of urban inhabitants, and in Tunisia it is approaching a majority. These two countries – the only Arab Spring nations that have not disintegrated – demonstrate in different ways how it is possible to maintain a semblance of state control over urban space in spite of all evidence to the contrary and, at the same time, to continue to respond to the real estate aspirations of their modernist middle classes and also their business and professional elites.

David Sims

David Sims is an economist and urban planner who has worked mainly as a consultant in many countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Half of his work experience has been in Egypt, where he is based. He is the author of Understanding Cairo: The Logic of a City Out of Control (2010 and 2012) and Egypt's Desert Dreams: Development or Disaster? (2015).