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Design Initiative CREW Redefines the Urban Experience in Cairo

Urban design firm CREW is dedicated to redefining urban spaces throughout Cairo, transforming them into public venues open for all to use.

The throughways of Cairo’s sprawling urban landscape are often treated like avenues for transit - places for moving through, not living in. The idea of a truly public space that people can call their own is all-too foreign. After working as an architect and urban designer in the US, Hana Zaky returned to Egypt with one thought in mind: to transform the way we experienced Cairo with her urban design firm, CREW.


"Our main mission is to bring people together in different spaces across the city," Zaky tells #CairoScene. "We're a group of urban enthusiasts who are inspired by the collision of people in cities. Our events are made to create a temporary experience that would get people intrigued in these public spaces, and see the potential in using them in a lot of different ways. It promotes the space as a venue."


While Cairo certainly isn't hurting for venues like dance clubs and cinemas, these are concrete spaces, closed off from the rest of the city, inflexibly dedicated to their specific function. "Our venues are very face-value," Zaky explains. "So I thought, why don't we change from these stable venues to crazy venues where you can set up different events without creating major disruption. It's a concept and theory called tactical urbanism. You use movable, low-budget, minimal structures and materials to create structures like theatre stages to temporarily change a space."


CREW's urban transformations have caught the attention of entities like Ismailia in the Fifth Settlement, where they organised a Red Bull event at Kodak Passage Corner, and Walk of Cairo, where they hosted a movie night and concert at their park, the Rig. Their next project will take place at the Greek Campus by Tahrir Square on April 9th, where they will put on a film festival by the campus's famously oversized steps. The films will be all about people's relationships with Cairo, and they're still accepting submissions for newly made films until April 3rd.