Urban Trojan

Urban social innovations in Egypt between the hands of researchers, the community and public authorities


  • Mohamed Elazzazy Arab Academy for Science and Technology, Bauhaus University, Weimar image/svg+xml
  • Ahmed Zaazaa 10 Tooba





urban governance, parallel practices, participatory, social innovations


This paper introduces a new perspective to recognize the urban social innovation executed by researchers and initiators as "Urban Trojan" in the urban system. It analyses different approaches taken by researchers/initiators to overcome barriers between the public authorities, the community, and the initiators/researchers themselves to execute urban solutions to societal problems. The analysis adopts three approaches to deal with the public authorities presented by Jessy Marsh, the editor of the “Citizen-Driven Innovation” guidebook of good practice on open and participatory approaches to bring citizen-driven innovation to policy makers. This paper metaphorically titles Marsh’s approaches as: working in shadow, depending on a hero, and infiltrating through cracks.

Considering these approaches, this paper analyses four different interventions in deprived areas in Egypt. The paper analyses the approach taken by each intervention to deal with the public authorities in relation to their effectiveness and sustainability. Its effectiveness in terms of dissolving boundaries between the different sectors and sustainability to reproduce or open the way for other initiatives to take place. This paper targets generally researchers who work in developing countries in which the system responsible for the urban development is rigid towards urban social innovations. On a local level, it targets Egyptian researchers and initiators concerned with the urban field.




Tooba. (2015). Parallel Urban Practice in Egypt. Retrieved January 25, 2016, from Egypt Urban Forum: http://www.egypturbanforum.com/wp-content/uploads/books/UNHABITAT%20-%20Parallel%20Urban%20Practice%20in%20Egypt%20En.pdf

Benebny Hayah. (2013, March). Facebook. Retrieved January 21, 2016, from https://www.facebook.com/benebny7ayah/info/?tab=page_info

Elnaggarism. (2012, January 12). Documentary film of the entrance and exist of El Me’temdeya [Video file]. YouTube. Retrieved June 5, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auu-CitzwA8 GIZ. (2012). EGYPT. Retrieved January 22, 2016, from GIZ: https://www.giz.de/en/worldwide/319.html J. Garcia, H., Reilly, R., & Shorter, J. D. (2003). Trojan horses: they deceive, they invade, they destroy. Retrieved June 2, 2016, from http://iacis.org/iis/2003/GarciaReillyShorter.pdf

ma’an. (2013). ma’an. Retrieved January 30, 2016, from http://www.ma3an.com.eg/

Mada Masr. (2016, November 29). Update: Egypt’s Parliament passes new NGO law. Retrieved March 30, 2017, from Mada Masr: http://www.madamasr.com/en/2016/11/29/news/u/parliament-passes-new-ngo-law/

Madd. (2011, February). MADD. Retrieved January 30, 2016, from http://maddplatform.tumblr.com/ Madd Platform. (2015, December). Maspero Parallel Participatory Project. Retrieved January 20, 2016, from: https://issuu.com/maddplatform/docs/maspero_parallel_participatory_proj

Marsh, J. (Performer). (2015, October 10). Citizen-Driven Innovation. Urban Thinker Campus: City as a Service, Palermo, Sicily, Italy. Retrieved 01 25, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0KiaLhF7QU

Megawra. (n.d.). Research “Al-Athar Lina”. Retrieved January 16, 2016, from Megawra: http://megawra.com/researches/athar-lina/

Mozza, T. (2016, January 15). artwork in historic Cairo. (A. Zaazaa, Interviewer) PC Magazine. (n.d.). PC Magazine Encyclopedia. Retrieved June 15, 2016, from http://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia/term/53178/trojan

Phills Jr., J. A., Deiglmeier, K., & Miller, D. T. (2008, Fall ). Standford Social Innovation Review. Retrieved 3 30, 2017, from Rediscovering Social Innovation: https://ssir.org/images/articles/2008FA_feature_phills_deiglmeier_miller.pdf

S Journ , M. (2009, June). The History of Informal Settlements. In M. Fisher & R. Kipper (Ed.), Cairo Informal Area Between Urban Challenges and Hidden Potentials (pp.16-19). Portugal: Norprint SA.

The Mozza . (2016). My street pieces from Cairo and other places. Retrieved December 5, 2016, from http://themozza.tumblr.com

The World Bank and the European Network of Living Labs. (2015). Citizen-Driven Innovation. Retrieved November 1, 2015, from European Network of Living Labs: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/21984/Citizen_Driven_Innovation_Full.pdf?sequence=9

UN-Habiat. (2015). Urban Thinkers Campus: City as a Service. Retrieved February 01, 2016, from UN-Habiat: http://unhabitat.org/events/city-as-a-service/

UN-Habitat. (2012, March). EGYPT. Retrieved January 22, 2016, from UN-Habitat: http://unhabitat.org/egypt/