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Excursion to Aswan

View on New Aswan

Aswan, October 2015 – Students from the fourth intake visited the city of Aswan and its 1997 commenced extension New Aswan in a double missioned excursion. The first reason was an exercise in urban analysis in the old part of Aswan, the second part a visit to the new town of New Aswan. New Aswan is the current topic of the first term project for the fourth intake. 

While the city of Aswan lies on the east bank of the Nile and on several of its islands, New Aswan is situated on the west bank and 12 kilometers north of the mother city. The two cities are connected by the Aswan Bridge close to New Aswan. Here, the Aswan-Giza Road can be reached that leads to Cairo.

The visit to Aswan included a guided site visit by representatives of the Arab Academy and the University of Aswan to downtown, Al-Tabiyya Mosque and its surroundings. The visit was also the first phase of the “Urban Analysis” course. The course aimed to familiarize the students with the inhabitants as well as characteristics of the Al-Tabiyya neighborhood. It focused on the questions of built environment, social life, commercial activities, urban environment and infrastructure. Better understanding of the existing urban area and an improvement of analyzing skills have been practiced in this exercise. The results and findings of the analysis were presented to all fellow students in El Gouna after the excursion.

Al-Tabiyya neighborhood

Whereas the urban analysis in the mother city was one purpose of the excursion, another reason was the first “Term Project” of the Master’s Program dealing with New Aswan. Although the young city still lacks inhabitants, the infrastructure already exists. The assignment for the student is to develop ideas for the so called Green Campus City (GCC). The GCC lies in the southwestern part of New Aswan close to the new campus of Aswan University. It is also still under construction and planned to be finished in 2016. The project area was selected through discussions between the New Urban Community Authority (NUCA) and TU Berlin Campus El Gouna. Both institutions have already conducted a series of workshops since 2013 to enhance the development plans.

The Head of the New Aswan Development Authority hosted the group and explained the new city plans, achievements, and future scenarios. After a quick tour through the city’s built up areas, the students visited the New Aswan University campus site, and the GCC area. Additionally, students met few stakeholders, like a representative from the Nubian community and staff members of the Faculty of Architecture of Aswan University. The challenges facing New Aswan, similar to other new cities planned by NUCA, are (1) gaining new inhabitants, (2) offering attractive urban solutions considering social and environmental issues for unsold plots, and (3) creating solid job opportunities.

Green Campus City

The students are expected to work on applicable concepts for the development of the GCC by considering the challenges of the whole new town, respecting the ideas and constraints of stakeholders such as NUCA or private investors, and bearing in mind especially future user groups. These user groups are expected to be quite diverse, ranging from staff and students of Aswan University to Nubian people, and inhabitants from Upper Egypt. Because only little attention has been directed to climate issues so far, students are asked to consider these issues and environmental challenges more seriously. Moreover, the students have to work on feasibility studies proving the applicability of their concepts. All in all, the GCC should be developed in a way to attract more attention and interest to New Aswan as a whole. NUCA representatives are looking forward receiving and discussing the ideas of the students.

View on New Aswan with a high voltage power line dividing the future city

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