Spatio-temporal Patterns of Events in Historic Cairo Around Iconic Mosques

  • Mohamed Salem Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime transport, El Moushir Ahmed Ismail St., Sheraton Al Matar, Cairo 11757, Egypt
Keywords: Place making, Events, Loose space, Appropriation, Assemblage


This paper presents spatial analysis of two of the largest events in Historic Cairo. The study aims to understand the space transformation during mawlid event in the vicinity of the iconic mosques of al-Husayn and al-Sayyida Zaynab, and the use of such space as event venues. The main objective is to understand the studied place, thus be in a better position to manage and creatively transform them for future developments in the region of historic Cairo. The study is guided by the theories of place making with special emphasis on the complexity associated with place assemblage. The research is conducted through observation, description and analysis of the scene and the activities that take place in the spaces during the mawlid event. Observations are analyzed through maps and sketches of the actual physical setting, leading to different themes extraction. The paper demonstrates how people appropriate and adapt to the urban space and how the looseness of space fulfill the diverse needs and desires of people’s behavior.


. A. Madoeuf, “Feasts panoramas in town-spaces and times of the moulids of Cairo,” Urban Africa: Changing Contours of Survival in the City, p. 68, 2005.

. B. Quinn, “Arts festivals and the city,” Urban studies, vol. 42, no. 5–6, pp. 927–943, 2005.

. G. Deleuze and F. Guattari, “A thousand plateaus (B. Massumi, Trans.),” Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.(Original work published 1980), 1987.

. M. Johansson and J. Kociatkiewicz, “City festivals: creativity and control in staged urban experiences,” European Urban and Regional Studies, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 392–405, Oct. 2011, doi: 10.1177/0969776411407810.

. H. Lefebvre, The Production of Space. Wiley, 1992.

. M. Crang, “Rhythms of the city: temporalised space and motion,” in timespace, Routledge, 2003, pp. 199–219.

. K. Jamieson, “Edinburgh the festival gaze and its boundaries,” Space and Culture, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 64–75, 2004.

. A. Lorentzen, “Cities in the experience economy,” European planning studies, vol. 17, no. 6, pp. 829–845, 2009.

. A. Smith, Events in the City: Using public spaces as event venues. Routledge, 2015.

. F. Steele, The sense of place. CBI Pub. Co., 1981.

. Y.-F. Tuan, Space and place: The perspective of experience. U of Minnesota Press, 1977.

. C. Norberg-Schulz, Genius loci: towards a phenomenology of architecture. Academy Editions, 1980.

. H. M. Proshansky, A. K. Fabian, and R. Kaminoff, “Place-identity: Physical world socialization of the self,” Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 57–83, Mar. 1983, doi: 10.1016/S0272-4944(83)80021-8.

. K. A. Franck and Q. Stevens, “Tying down loose space,” Loose space: Possibility and diversity in urban life, pp. 1–33, 2007.

. K. Franck and Q. Stevens, Loose Space: Possibility and Diversity in Urban Life. Routledge, 2013.

. L. G. Rivlin, “Found spaces,” Loose space: Possibility and diversity in urban life, p. 38, 2006.

. D. Getz and S. J. Page, Event Studies: Theory, Research and Policy for Planned Events. Routledge, 2016.

. G. Richards, “Creativity and tourism in the city,” Current issues in Tourism, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 119–144, 2014.

. D. Jakob, “The eventification of place: Urban development and experience consumption in Berlin and New York City,” European urban and regional studies, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 447–459, 2013.

. Q. Stevens, The ludic city: exploring the potential of public spaces. Routledge, 2007.

. L. C. Manzo, “For better or worse: Exploring multiple dimensions of place meaning,” Journal of environmental psychology, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 67–86, 2005.

. G. A. Kelly, The psychology of personal constructs. Volume 1: A theory of personality. WW Norton and Company, 1955.

. A. Madoeuf, “Mulids of Cairo: Sufi Guilds, Popular Celebrations and the ''Roller-Coaster Landscape" of the Resignified City,” pp. 465–487, 2006.

. C. Bailey, S. Miles, and P. Stark, “Culture-led urban regeneration and the revitalisation of identities in Newcastle, Gateshead and the North East of England,” International journal of cultural policy, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 47–65, 2004.

. J. Gehl, Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space. Island Press, 2011.

. M. Carmona, Public Places, Urban Spaces: The Dimensions of Urban Design. Routledge, 2010.

. P. von Meiss, Elements of Architecture: From Form to Place. Routledge, 2013.

. N. Fernando, “Open-ended space: Urban streets in different cultural contexts,” Loose Space: Possibility and Diversity in Urban Life. New York: Routledge, pp. 54–72, 2006.

. W. H. Whyte, “The social life of small urban spaces,” 1980.

. D. Dewar and R. Uytenbogaardt, Creating vibrant urban places to live: A primer. Headstart Developments, 1995.

. K. Lynch, T. Banerjee, and M. Southworth, City Sense and City Design: Writings and Projects of Kevin Lynch. MIT Press, 1995.

. C. Norberg-Schulz, Genius loci: towards a phenomenology of architecture. Academy Editions, 1980.

. H. Lefebvre, E. Kofman, and E. Lebas, Writings on cities, vol. 63. Blackwell Oxford, 1996.

. S. Schielke, “On snacks and saints: when discourses of rationality and order enter the Egyptian mawlid,” Archives de sciences sociales des religions, no. 135, pp. 117–140, Sep. 2006, doi: 10.4000/assr.3765.

. L. Lerup, Building the unfinished: architecture and human action. Sage Publications, 1977.

. M. Crawford, Introduction, Everyday Urbanism, eds. J Chase, M Crawford and J Kalinski. The Monacelli Press, New York, 1999.

. J. Montgomery, “Making a city: Urbanity, vitality and urban design,” Journal of Urban Design, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 93–116, Feb. 1998, doi: 10.1080/13574809808724418.

. K. Dovey, Becoming Places: Urbanism / Architecture / Identity / Power. Routledge, 2009.

. K. Dovey, Framing places: Mediating power in built form. Routledge, 2014.