Urban Design and Landscape

AGORA

Maha Aziz
The German University in Cairo
Egypt

Project idea

AGORA is an urban proposal of a public square and a residential neighborhood at center of Wadi Kharouba, Matrouh Governate in Egypt's Western Desert, as the initial phase of a larger Masterplan along the Valley.

Project description

The AGORA is located in the center of Wadi Kharouba, Matrouh Governorate in Egypt's Western Desert, as the initial phase of a larger Masterplan along the Valley.
It consists of a public square with a corresponding residential Neighborhood designed for the local bedouin community. The AGORA acts as an Urban Catalyst, motivating further Urban Agglomerations and developments. Wadi urbanization is inevitable as its home to the desert's limited Cultivatable lands, however, urbanization is fragmented and informal, hence, creating a neighborhood in close proximity to the locals' livelihood is prioritized.

Due to the Bedouins’ isolation from well-serviced urban centers, they rely largely on Social Capital for survival, therefore creating a public space to host, facilitate & encourage these public functions is another top priority.

The AGORA connects the neighborhoods of the Wadi and adjacent Wadis. Located at the highest elevation point, +105 m, it occupies a strategic location and is built to service all of Matrouh by hosting diverse functions including; an industrial zone, accompanied by a walkthrough market, a desert forest, grown using treated solid-waste water, from which wood is supplied to the industrial workshops maintaining a closed-loop. The solid-waste water treatment facility also doubles as an amphitheater. Vertical farms doubling as Watch Towers, Pigeon Towers and other productive functions were added to diversify income streams.

Matrouh's locals' income majorly depends on Tourism and Agriculture. These industries have proven vulnerable due to factors such as, tourism seasonality, political unrest, global health crises i.e. COVID-19, climate change, water scarcity and seasonal draughts. The AGORA aims to expand beyond these industries, creating a holistic, resilient economy.

This Urban proposal aims to achieve a closed-loop and circular economy, sustainability and self-sufficiency, an adaptive city with dual and triple-function typologies, allowing for adaptive re-use as per the people's needs and finally, a resilient local economy.

Technical information

The AGORA's Space Program is made up of:
Serapium Forest
Amphitheater
Solid waste treatment facility

Light Industrial Zone
Walk—through Souq
Logistics—loading+unloading
Sports Complex & Playscapes
Trees Nursery
Tourists Bridge
Eco—lodges
Vertical Farming Units
Food Plaza

Mosque
Hotel
Residential Neighborhood