Egypt’s capital city, Cairo, embodies one of the longest and most-dramatic transformations of any large urban center. Its current “transition,” following the 2011 popular uprising against a long-standing kleptocracy, suggests a well-developed and organized civil society and social movements that would drive democratic change. Urban social movements claiming the right to the city in other regions do so in a constitutional and institutional context that has evolved beyond past tyranny to enable specific claims for greater social justice in the urban sphere. While Cairo is very much a megacity in flux, the principles of the right to the city present themselves as theoretical tools. Their implementation poses a learning opportunity for local governance yet untried, but very much in current demand.

A new study on the development of the concepts of the right to the city in Cairo identifies the potential of--and potential challenges to--implementing the right to the city in this mega city.