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Case Studies 

Al-Azhar Park



Contributed by 
Project for Public Spaces
April 10, 2006
December 14, 2017

A new hilltop park in the midst of one of CairoÍs most interesting neighborhoods.

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

In transforming such a large part of Cairo, which was for so long used as an open dump, the impact of Al-Azhar Park on the city is tremendous. It has been planned with a multitude of activities in mind and incorporates a conceptualised hilltop lookout kiosk, a children's play area, an amphitheatre and stage, playing fields, a viewing plaza and a historical wall promenade.

Access & Linkages

Comfort & Image

As a tool for improving the aesthetic and overall safety/comfort of the neighbourhood, the Al-Ahzar Park development project inlcudes a microcredit program for neighbouring residents to restore dwellings and improve existing/found new businesses.

Uses & Activities

The park not only provides recreation space for 15 million + residents of Cairo but also vistas of the city that have never been observed before.


Creating this park entailed restoring several historical monuments in the adjacent Darb Al Ahmar community and included social programs for this poor, overpopulated neighborhood, which used to be frequented by drug dealers.

These programs include employment, training and healthcare services, and were undertaken with the belief that the people of Cairo are the key to the park's sustainability.

How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

Al-Azhar Park on Al-Darassa spans 30 hectares and was opened in 2005 by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture's Historic Cities Programme to act as a 'green lung' for the city, as its largest designed greenspace.

Previously a municipal rubbish dump (for about 500 years), approximately 80,000 truckload of debris had to be removed before construction started and in the process a 12th century Ayyubid city wall of Cairo that was built during the reign of Salah el-Din, as well as some valuable stones with hieroglyphic texts were uncovered!

Related Links & Sources

Al-Azhar Park
Paving stones contrast with the planting
Al-Azhar Park
Aerial view over the park
Al-Azhar Park
Al-Azhar Park
Al-Azhar Park
Main spine - early planting
Al-Azhar Park
View to the Citadel
Al-Azhar Park
Al-Azhar Park

*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.


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