Habitat Unit

SEMINAR, WS 2016/2017
Prof. Dr. Philipp Misselwitz, Dr. Hassan Elmouelhi, Salma Khamis

RealCityLab − Building Communities through Cooperative Housing in Cairo

The demand for adequate housing is becoming an urgent topic worldwide, especially in the global south. One globally recognized habitat solution is the cooperative housing and its diverse management models. In Cairo, the rapidly growing urban population was the impetus for civil reformers of the 1950s to promote housing delivery combining state investment and self-provisioning. Since then, cooperative housing acts through co-operation between public and private stakeholders, sharing the main principles: self-help, self-responsibility, democratic management, equal rights and benefits of the residents, equity and solidarity for a sustainable housing settlement. However, housing cooperatives in Egypt today suffer from mismanagement and deterioration of the build environment.

The seminar and excursion aim to study and discuss these existing channels of cooperative housing delivery in Cairo and will be conducted in the context of the DAAD/ BMZ-funded research project RealCityLab (2016-2019). Prior to the trip we will introduce the cooperative movement through key texts and films to build up a common understanding of self-provisioning in the housing sector. The aim of the excursion to Cairo is to study and document projects in situ and prepare a Cooperative Housing Atlas for Cairo.


Download flyer here 

In collaboration with the Faculty of Fine Arts in Cairo, an extensive fieldwork will be conducted in two selected study areas: 1) Wadi Houf in Helwan 2) Saharaa Al Ahram in Giza to explore the reality and history of housing cooperatives in Greater Cairo. The field work methodology includes observations and semi-structured interviews, mental mapping of the residents perception and urban survey of the neighborhood. We will ask: How do socio-economic and political factors affect the success of housing cooperatives as a self-provision model in Egypt?


Travel and accommodation will be supported through RealCityLab - funded by BMZ and DAAD (2016-2019).

Course Information+

Summer School 6 ECTS
Arch MA - WP, UD MA - WP, M SRP - WP

Teaching Days
Mondays 10 am - 12 pm, A 606

First meeting
October 17, 2016, 12 pm, A 606

Excursion to Cairo
November 18 - 27, 2016

A4 Motivation letter and a short CV by October 15, 2016 to


Salma Khamis

Room A 409 
T + 49 – 30 – 314 – 21908 
F + 49 – 30 – 314 – 21907