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16 October 2013 / CairoFromBelow

Food and the City – ﺍﻟﻐﺬﺍء ﻭﺍﻟﻤﺪﻳﻨﻪ

A vendor sells bread in Cairo (Photo Credit: Cairo from Below)

A vendor sells bread in Cairo (Photo Credit: Cairo from Below)

Cairo from Below is pleased to introduce the first post by Cairo from Below member Marouh Hussein a first year graduate student at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.  Through this post Marouh is hoping to kick off a conversation on food and health in the Cairo both for the benefit of readers here and for her own studies on the subject at graduate school.  We encourage you to join the conversation in the comments section below, on twitter or our Facebook page.

Growing up in New York City, I’ve always been familiar with the urban form. The massive crowds, the loud traffic, the odorous air (is that a subway car or trash can?) and the wild concrete jungle are all things I have grown to love and manage. Yet there is still one aspect of urban living I still have not quite learned to deal with: food insecurity. Looking around NYC there are vast disparities between the foods available in different neighborhoods and especially among different income levels; only a 3-block radius will reveal grand inequalities in the food security and nutrition of NYC’s residents. My family emigrated from Egypt almost 25 years ago and although the last time I was in Cairo I barely had any teeth, I often find myself thinking of how urbanization is affecting the residents of Cairo and all of Egypt. Both of my parents have diabetes, as well as several extended family members. While diabetes is on the rise in New York City, my parents’ diabetes can be traced back to their time in Egypt.

Egypt currently has the eighth highest diabetes rate in the world and has been experiencing a staggering increase in recent years. Non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, are often linked to lifestyle changes that occur as a result of urbanization, such as less physical activity and greater consumption of processed foods. As Cairo continues to urbanize, how can we use smart urban planning to keep its residents healthy? What are the options for using urban agriculture (also here is a link to a socioeconomic study on urban agriculture), green space and local markets to promote healthy food for urban dwellers? Are there any nutritional disparities being observed between different income levels in Cairo? These are all questions and issues I am interested in researching and hopefully finding answers to.

As I start my graduate career at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, the link between food security and urbanization is something I will continue to study. Over the next two years I’m interested in exploring the issues of food security in Egypt and look forward to exploring these issues using one of the most important urban tools of our time, social media!

But I need your help! What sort of links between urban planning and health can you see in Cairo? Send Cairo from Below a comment below, tweet or message us on Facebook about the nexus of Cairo’s health, food and urbanization. If you see a cool urban garden popping up in Cairo, share it. Do you know of a lot that would be the ideal space for one? Send us a picture! Know of an organization that is working on food security issues in Cairo? Send us link to their website! I’ll be sharing my own insight on these topics but would love to hear and share what other people are reading/hearing/thinking/seeing about these topics as well. Starting a conversation is the first step towards building solutions together, so start tweeting and posting! I look forward to hearing your insights! I’ll suggest we use #HealthyCairo to keep the conversation going.


تتشرف “القاهره من الاساس” بتقديم اول مشاركه من العضو “مروه حسين”-كلية الشؤون الدولية والعامة في جامعة كولومبيا-. تتمنى مروه من خلال هذه المقاله ان تبدا حوار مثمر حول قضايا الاكل و الصحه فى مصر يعود بالنفع على القراء وعلى دراستها فى الكليه ونحن ندعوكم للمشاركه فى فى هذا الحوار من خلال التعليقات على المدونه اوتويتر والفيسبوك.


ﺣﻴﺚ ﺍﻧﻰ ﻧﺸﺄﺕ ﻓﻰ ﻭﻻﻳﻪ ﻧﻴﻮﻳﻮﺭﻙ,ﻛﻨﺖ ﺩﺍﺋﻤﺎ ﻋﻠﻰ ﺩﺭﺍﻳﻪ ﺑﺎﻟﺸﻜﻞ ﺍﻟﺤﻀﺮﻯ, ﺍﻟﺤﺸﻮﺩ ﺍﻟﻬﺎﺋﻠﻪ , ﺍﺻﻮﺍﺕ ﺣﺮﻛﻪ ﺍﻟﻤﺮﻭﺭ ﺍﻟﺼﺎﺧﺒﻪ,ﺭﺍﺋﺤﻪ

ﺍﻟﻬﻮﺍء(ﻫﻞ ﻫﻰ ﺭﺍﺋﺤﻪ ﻣﺘﺮﻭ ﺍﻻﻧﻔﺎﻕ ﺍﻡ ﺳﻠﻪ ﻣﻬﻤﻼﺕ ؟) ﻭﺍﻟﻐﺎﺑﻪ ﺍﻻﺳﻤﻨﺘﻴﻪ ﻭﻫﻰ ﺍﺷﻴﺎء ﻧﺸﺄﺕ ﻣﻌﻬﺎ ﻭﺗﻌﻠﻤﺖ ﺣﺒﻬﺎ ﻭﺍﻟﺘﻌﺎﻣﻞ ﻣﻌﻬﺎ. ﻟﻜﻦ ﻻ

ﻳﺰﺍﻝ ﻫﻨﺎﻙ ﺟﺎﻧﺒﺎ ﻣﻦ ﺍﻟﺤﻴﺎﻩ ﺍﻟﺤﻀﺮﻳﻪ ﻣﺎﺯﻟﺖ ﻟﻢ ﺍﺳﺘﻄﻊ ﺍﻟﺘﻌﺎﻣﻞ ﻣﻌﻪ ﻭﻫﻮ “ﺍﻧﻌﺪﺍﻡ ﺍﻻﻣﻦ ﺍﻟﻐﺬﺍﺋﻰ”.ﺑﺎﻟﻨﻈﺮ ﺍﻟﻰ ﻭﻻﻳﻪ  ﻧﻴﻮﻳﻮﺭﻙ ﻫﻨﺎﻙ ﻓﻮﺍﺭﻕ

ﺷﺎﺳﻌﻪ ﺑﻴﻦ ﺍﻻﻃﻌﻤﻪ ﺍﻟﻤﺘﻮﻓﺮﻩ ﻓﻰ ﺍﻻﺣﻴﺎء ﺍﻟﻤﺨﺘﻠﻔﻪ ﻭ ﺧﺎﺻﻪ ﺑﻴﻦ ﻃﺒﻘﺎﺕ ﺍﻟﺪﺧﻞ ﺍﻟﻤﺨﺘﻠﻔﻪ ,ﺗﻜﻔﻰ ﺩﺍﺋﺮﻩ ﻗﻄﺮﻫﺎ ﺛﻼﺙ ﻣﺠﺎﻭﺭﺍﺕ ﺍﻥ ﺗﻜﺸﻒ

ﺍﻟﺘﻔﺎﻭﺕ ﺍﻟﻜﺒﻴﺮ ﻓﻰ ﺍﻻﻣﻦ ﺍﻟﻐﺬﺍﺋﻰ ﻭﺍﻟﺘﻐﺬﻳﻪ ﻟﺴﻜﺎﻥ ﻣﺪﻳﻨﻪ ﻧﻴﻮﻳﻮﺭﻙ.ﻫﺎﺟﺮﺕ ﻋﺎﺋﻠﺘﻰ ﻣﻦ ﻣﺼﺮ ﻣﻨﺬ ﻣﺎ ﻳﻘﺮﺏ ﻣﻦ 25 ﻋﺎﻣﺎ ﻭﻋﻠﻰ ﺍﻟﺮﻏﻢ ﻣﻦ ﺍﻥ

ﺍﺧﺮ ﻣﺮﻩ ﻛﻨﺖ ﻓﻰ ﺍﻟﻘﺎﻫﺮﻩ ﺑﺎﻟﻜﺎﺩ ﻛﺎﻧﺖ ﻟﻰ ﺍﺳﻨﺎﻥ,ﺩﺍﺋﻤﺎ ﻣﺎ ﺍﺟﺪ ﻧﻔﺴﻰ ﺍﻓﻜﺮ ﻛﻴﻒ ﻳﺆﺛﺮ ﺍﻟﺤﻀﺮ ﻋﻠﻰ ﺳﻜﺎﻥ ﺍﻟﻘﺎﻫﺮﻩ ﻭﻣﺼﺮ.ﻛﻞ ﻣﻦ ﻭﺍﻟﺪﺍﻯ

ﻣﺼﺎﺑﺎ ﺑﺎﻟﺴﻜﺮﻯ ,ﻓﻀﻼ ﻋﻦ ﺍﻟﻌﺪﻳﺪ ﻣﻦ ﺍﻓﺮﺍﺩ ﺍﺳﺮﺗﻰ .ﻓﻰ ﺣﻴﻦ ﺍﻥ ﺍﻟﺴﻜﺮﻯ ﺍﺧﺬ ﻓﻰ ﺍﻻﺭﺗﻔﺎﻉ ﻓﻰ ﻧﻴﻮﻳﻮﺭﻙ ﻭ ﻟﻜﻦ ﻣﺮﺽ ﻭﺍﻟﺪﺍﻯ ﻳﻤﻜﻦ

.ﺍﺭﺟﺎﻋﻪ ﺍﻟﻰ ﻭﻗﺘﻬﻢ ﻓﻰ ﻣﺼﺮ


ﻣﺼﺮ ﺣﺎﻟﻴﺎ ﻟﺪﻳﻬﺎ ﺛﺎﻣﻦ ﺍﻋﻠﻰ ﻣﻌﺪﻝ ﻟﻼﺻﺎﺑﻪ ﺑﻤﺮﺽ ﺍﻟﺴﻜﺮﻯ ﻓﻰ ﺍﻟﻌﺎﻟﻢ ﻭﺗﺸﻬﺪ ﺯﻳﺎﺩﻩ ﻫﺎﺋﻠﻪ ﻓﻰ ﺍﻟﺴﻨﻮﺍﺕ ﺍﻻﺧﻴﺮﻩ.ﺍﻻﻣﺮﺍﺽ ﻏﻴﺮ ﺍﻟﻤﻌﺪﻳﻪ ﻣﺜﻞ

ﻣﺮﺽ ﺍﻟﺴﻜﺮﻯ ﻏﺎﻟﺒﺎ ﻣﺎ ﺗﻜﻮﻥ ﻣﺮﺗﺒﻄﻪ ﺑﺘﻐﻴﻴﺮ ﻧﻤﻂ ﺍﻟﺤﻴﺎﻩ ﺍﻟﺬﻯ ﻳﺤﺪﺙ ﻧﺘﻴﺠﻪ ﻟﻠﺘﺤﻀﺮ,ﻣﺜﻞ ﻗﻠﻪ ﺍﻟﻨﺸﺎﻁ ﺍﻟﺒﺪﻧﻰ ﻭﺯﻳﺎﺩﻩ ﺍﺳﺘﻬﻼﻙ ﺍﻻﻃﻌﻤﻪ

ﺍﻟﻤﺼﻨﻌﻪ. ﻣﻊ ﺍﺳﺘﻤﺮﺍﺭ ﺍﺗﺠﺎﻩ ﺍﻟﻘﺎﻫﺮﻩ ﻟﻠﺤﻀﺮ ﻛﻴﻒ ﻳﻤﻜﻦ ﺍﻥ ﺍﺳﺘﺨﺪﺍﻡ ﺍﻟﺘﺨﻄﻴﻂ ﺍﻟﺤﻀﺮﻯ ﺍﻟﺬﻛﻰ ﻟﻠﺤﻔﺎﻅ ﻋﻠﻰ ﺳﻜﺎﻧﻬﺎ ﻓﻰ ﺻﺤﻪ ﺟﻴﺪﻩ؟ ﻣﺎ ﻫﻰ

ﺍﻟﺨﻴﺎﺭﺍﺕ ﺍﻟﻤﺘﺎﺣﻪ ﻻﺳﺘﺨﺪﺍﻡ ﺍﻟﺰﺭﺍﻋﻪ ﺍﻟﺤﻀﺮﻳﻪ( ﻫﻨﺎ ﻳﻮﺟﺪ ﻣﺠﺎﻝ ﻟﺪﺭﺍﺳﺎﺕ ﺍﺟﺘﻤﺎﻋﻴﻪ ﺍﻗﺘﺼﺎﺩﻳﻪ ﻋﻠﻰ ﺍﻟﺰﺭﺍﻋﻪ ﺍﻟﺤﻀﺮﻳﻪ)ﻭﺍﻟﻤﺴﺎﺣﺎﺕ

ﺍﻟﺨﻀﺮﺍء ﻭﺍﻻﺳﻮﺍﻕ ﺍﻟﻤﺤﻠﻴﻪ ﻟﺘﺮﻭﻳﺞ ﺍﻟﻐﺬﺍء ﺍﻟﺼﺤﻰ ﻟﺴﻜﺎﻥ ﺍﻟﻤﻨﺎﻃﻖ ﺍﻟﺤﻀﺮﻳﻪ؟ ﻫﻞ ﻫﻨﺎﻙ ﺍﻯ ﻓﻮﺍﺭﻕ ﻏﺬﺍﺋﻴﻪ ﺑﻴﻦ ﺍﻟﻄﺒﻘﺎﺕ ﺍﻟﻤﺨﺘﻠﻔﻪ ﻓﻰ

.ﺍﻟﻘﺎﻫﺮﻩ؟ ﻫﺬﻩ ﻛﻠﻬﺎ ﺍﺳﺌﻠﻪ ﻭﻗﻀﺎﻳﺎ ﺗﺜﻴﺮ ﺍﻫﺘﻤﺎﻣﻰ ﻓﻰ ﺍﻟﺒﺤﺚ ﻭﺍﺍﻣﻞ ﺍﻥ ﺍﻋﺜﺮ ﻋﻠﻰ ﺍﺟﺎﺑﺎﺕ ﻟﻬﺎ


ﺍﻟﻌﻼﻗﻪ ﺑﻴﻦ ﺍﻻﻣﻦ ﺍﻟﻐﺬﺍﺋﻰ ﻭ ﺍﻟﺤﻀﺮ ﻫﻰ ﻗﻀﻴﻪ ﺳﻮﻑ ﺍﻭﺍﺻﻞ ﺩﺭﺍﺳﺘﻬﺎ ﺣﻴﺚ ﺍﻧﻰ ﺍﺑﺪﺍ ﺣﻴﺎﺗﻰ ﺍﻟﻤﻬﻨﻴﻪ ﻓﻰ ﺟﺎﻣﻌﻪ ﻛﻮﻟﻮﻣﺒﻴﺎ ﻟﻠﺸﺌﻮﻥ ﺍﻟﺪﻭﻟﻴﻪ

ﻭﺍﻟﻌﺎﻣﻪ .ﻋﻠﻰ ﻣﺪﻯ ﺍﻟﻌﺎﻣﻴﻦ ﺍﻟﻤﻘﺒﻠﻴﻦ ﺍﻧﺎ ﻣﻬﺘﻤﻪ ﻓﻰ ﺍﺳﺘﻜﺸﺎﻑ ﻗﻀﺎﻳﺎ ﺍﻻﻣﻦ ﺍﻟﻐﺬﺍﺋﻰ ﻓﻰ ﻣﺼﺮ,ﻭﺍﺗﻄﻠﻊ ﺍﻟﻰ ﺍﺳﺘﻜﺸﺎﻑ ﻫﺬﻩ ﺍﻟﻘﻀﺎﻳﺎ ﺑﺎﺳﺘﺨﺪﺍﻡ

.ﻭﺍﺣﺪﻩ ﻣﻦ ﺍﻻﺩﻭﺍﺕ ﺍﻟﺤﻀﺮﻳﻪ ﺍﻻﻛﺜﺮ ﺍﻫﻤﻴﻪ ﻓﻰ ﻋﺼﺮﻧﺎ ﻭﻫﻰ ﻭﺳﺎﺋﻞ ﺍﻟﺘﻮﺍﺻﻞ ﺍﻻﺟﺘﻤﺎﻋﻰ


ﻭﻟﻜﻨﻰ ﺑﺤﺎﺟﻪ ﺍﻟﻰ ﻣﺴﺎﻋﺪﺗﻜﻢ ! ﺍﻯ ﻧﻮﻉ ﻣﻦ ﺍﻟﺮﻭﺍﺑﻂ ﺑﻴﻦ ﺍﻟﺘﺨﻄﻴﻂ ﺍﻟﺤﻀﺮﻯ ﻭﺍﻟﺼﺤﻪ ﻳﻤﻜﻦ ﺍﻥ ﺗﺮﻭﻫﺎ ﻓﻰ ﺍﻟﻘﺎﻫﺮﻩ؟ ﺍﺑﻌﺖ ﻟﻠﻘﺎﻫﺮﻩ ﻣﻦ

ﺍﻻﺳﺎﺱ ﻓﻰ ﺍﻟﻤﺪﻭﻧﻪ ﺍﻭ ﻣﻦ ﺧﻼﻝ ﺍﻟﻔﻴﺴﺒﻮﻙ ﺍﻭ ﺍﻟﺘﻮﻳﺘﺮ. ﺍﺫﺍ ﺭﺍﻳﺖ ﺣﺪﻳﻘﻪ ﻇﻬﺮﺕ ﻓﻰ ﻣﻨﻄﻘﺘﻚ ﺑﺎﻟﻘﺎﻫﺮﻩ ,ﺷﺎﺭﻛﻨﺎ ﺑﻬﺎ .ﻫﻞ ﺗﻌﺮﻑ ﻣﻜﺎﻥ ﻣﻨﺎﺳﺐ

ﻟﺤﺪﻳﻘﻪ ؟ ﺍﺑﻌﺖ ﻟﻨﺎ ﺻﻮﺭ ! ﻫﻞ ﺗﻌﺮﻑ ﻣﻨﻈﻤﻪ ﺗﻌﻤﻞ ﻓﻰ ﻗﻀﻴﻪ ﺍﻻﻣﻦ ﺍﻟﻐﺬﺍﺋﻰ ﻓﻰ ﻣﺼﺮ ؟ ﺍﺑﻌﺖ ﻟﻨﺎ ﺭﺍﺑﻂ ﻟﻤﻮﻗﻌﻬﻢ ﺍﻻﻟﻜﺘﺮﻭﻧﻰ. ﺳﺎﺷﺎﺭﻛﻜﻢ

ﻣﻠﺤﻮﻇﺎﺗﻰ ﺍﻟﺨﺎﺻﻪ ﺣﻮﻝ ﻫﺬﻩ ﺍﻟﻤﻮﺍﺿﻴﻊ ﻭﻟﻜﻦ ﺍﺣﺐ ﺍﻥ ﺍﺳﻤﻊ ﻭﺍﻧﺸﺮ ﺍﺭﺍء ﺍﻟﻨﺎﺱ ﻭ ﺍﻓﻜﺎﺭﻫﻢ ﺣﻮﻝ ﻫﺬﺍ ﺍﻟﻤﻮﺿﻮﻉ .ﺑﺪء ﻣﺤﺎﺩﺛﻪ ﻫﻰ ﺍﻟﺨﻄﻮﻩ

ﺍﻻﻭﻟﻰ ﻧﺤﻮ ﺑﻨﺎء ﺍﻟﺤﻠﻮﻝ ﻣﻌﺎ .ﻟﺬﻟﻚ ﺍﺩﻋﻮﻛﻢ ﻟﻠﻤﺸﺎﺭﻛﻪ ﻭ ﺍﻧﻨﻰ ﺍﺗﻄﻠﻊ ﺍﻟﻰ ﺍﻻﺳﺘﻤﺎﻉ ﻻﺭﺍﺋﻜﻢ . ﻭﺍﻗﺘﺮﺡ ﺍﺳﺘﺨﺪﺍﻡ ﻫﺬﺍ ” ﺍﻟﻬﺎﺷﺘﺎﺝ” ﻟﻠﺤﻔﺎﻅ ﻋﻠﻰ

.#HealthyCairo  :ﺍﻟﺤﻮﺍﺭ ﻣﺴﺘﻤﺮﺍ

Translated by: Hazem Adel, Ain Shams University, Faculty of Engineering, BSc Architecture 2011


Leave a Comment
  1. Eddie / May 29 2022 1:35 am

    This was great too read

  2. Comprar Louboutin / Mar 22 2014 10:12 am

    I love what you guys tend to be up too. This sort of clever work and coverage!
    Keep up the amazing works guys I’ve added you guys to my blogroll.

  3. hazem / Feb 2 2014 7:50 pm

    just found this “Egypt – Food Observatory” , thought it could be useful

  4. Marouh / Oct 30 2013 3:04 am

    Thank you Heba for your insight and resources! Do you know of any organizations working on urban health and urban agriculture issues in Cairo?

  5. Heba ElGawish / Oct 26 2013 10:10 pm

    The problem in Cairo is largely due to bad urban planning and lack of development regulations. As the city continues to grow, new districts are becoming increasingly detached from the city center and only accessible by cars. Planners in Cairo are falling for the same mistakes that have been made in American cities during the industrial era. Designing cities for cars rather than people. It is not uncommon to walk for miles in those new districts without a single sidewalk in sight, and even if there were any, they are very badly designed and inaccessible. Aside from those new neighborhoods in the suburbs of Cairo, even the city itself has become less and less pedestrian friendly over the years, with anything taking up sidewalk space from cars parked on top since traffic laws are simply non existent, to all types of vendors, to just pure deteriorating streetscape.

    As for urban agriculture, there is a big potential for it in Egypt. Building rooftops in Egypt are generally flat since we don’t get much rainfall. There has been several initiatives to plant rooftops in Egypt as far back as 2005 I remember, using the method of vertical, or raised gardens. I think it’s still ongoing. Here is a more recent one.

    A more in depth article about rooftop gardening in Egypt.

    Good luck with your research! The effects of urban planning on public health is a huge interest of mine 🙂

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