Sonic City

Sonic City

Amit Talwar Associates
n/a, India


Amit Talwar Associates en tant que Architectes.

“Cities with more sustainable transport systems have reduced ecological footprint from their reduced fossil fuels and greater chance of enhancing their ecology through reduced urban sprawl and car-based infrastructure.”

Peter Newman’s Resilient Cities: The Sustainable Transport City Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University in Perth, Australia.

Historically Egypt has been a land of visionary master architects and craftsmen creating monumental structures that have baffled the entire world. Egypt's historic rulers such as that of Ramses II have been testament of the capability the people of Egypt possess to be visionary progressive thinkers. The ancient strategies of building and planning of the nation have withstood against the test of time. However, Egypt today is faced with many issues pertaining to a global city with a rich historic context. The growing population, density and traffic problems offer other great challenges to its developing cities. These factors are predominantly visible within its cities such as Cairo. The competition site of Ramses Square offers a great opportunity for the city of Cairo to become a global leader in developing sustainable and mass transit oriented solutions to what is at the moment a random over lap of multiple networks . At this instant an outstanding density of 326,767 pedestrians[ within the square],143,863 metro users and an average of 119,077 railway commuters are engaging with the square. This identifies a large gap between the existing infrastructure and the demand for it to meet these requirements. Ramses Square, at this moment appears to be a transient space. A space through which people and cars pass through. The identity of the square itself has been of a transient nature in itself. The Square was previously known as Bab Al-Hadid giving it a much subdued identity in comparison to its successor. In 1955 the erection of the 3200 year old 11meters tall Ramses II statue that sat on a 3 meter high pedestal on the edge of a fountain by president Abdel Nasser provided the square with its iconic image. This made Ramses the formal Ambassador who welcomed everyone who arrived into cairo via the Railway station. On August 25th, 2006 the iconic symbol of the square i.e. the Ramses statue was transported out of the heart of the city to a temporary location on the Giza Plateau. The statue is to be a center of attraction at the new Grand Egyptian Museum, Giza that is scheduled to open in 2010. This museum is targeted at bringing in 3,000,000 tourists into the city of cairo. The removal of Ramses statue is looked at with mixed emotions by the people of Cairo. Some have proposed marriage to their spouses under the shadow of the statue others have used it as a way finding marker within the city. The removal of the statue has definitely created an associational vacuum between the people of the city and the Square. What is Ramses Square? What is the identity of Ramses Square without the statue? How do we replace the urban void created by its removal? Do we bring it back? Do we replace it with another symbol? These are only the start of the series of questions that we begin to ponder as we progressed into the proposal of Ramses Square .

The opportunity offered by the project is of a highly delicate nature. The issues are grounded in history, fabric, public interaction, infrastructure, sustainability and Identity - global as well as local. In order to proceed we wanted to understand the global pattern cities are adopting or have adopted in the past to enhance their strategic identity within the global arena. "The city of speed is the city of success" LeCorbusier

Mass Transit and Transit oriented Developments are the modes to adopt for the cities of the future. We have seen the inclusion of Mass Transit Connectors not only cater to the carbon footprint of cities such as New York City, USA but also has the ability to revitalize towns such as Lille, Paris.

Time, Speed and connectivity are key issues for the development of any city. Provision of the high speed TGV train through Lille placed the small industrial town onto the map of Europe as central location. This proposal along with the provision of a convention center enhanced the amount of revenue the city received due to its connectivity. Keeping in mind the existing chaotic condition of Ramses Square an analysis of the different modes adopted by the city of London to prevent private cars into its downtown area were also studied. The need of the hour is to create a coherent strategy. This strategy will need to not only implement policy but also cater to people of the city through public initiatives. Programs and marketing will need to be done to bring about awareness amongst the public of cairo, Egypt about sustainability, Mass Transit Use and T.O.D.'s. The implementation of policy and infrastructure in itself will not lead to an integrated sustainable environment.

Rhythmanalysis - A method of studying an urban situation by the rhythms it produces Henri Lefebvre

Every city has its own rhythm i.e. beat of the city. Some cities are based on their cultural sounds some on their intellectual orchestration and others on the drum beats of power. The ephemeral sound of a city is one that can only be related to by the people of the city as they pass and interact with it. However the rhythm of the city also dictates the life one leads within it. The rhythm highlighting the image of the city. For example if we associate the cultural sounds of a city to that of say New York City we may begin to understand the ambience of New York being a melting pot of different cultures. The rhythm mystically dictates the planning strategies for the city and vice versa. If we were to associate a marching band drum roll to a power city such as that of Washington D.C. we may understand the image of order and discipline it projects. However the rhythm of D.C. was an after effect to its planning as the capital of the United States. The rhythm of Washington will never achieve that of New York and vice versa based on the existing planning strategies adopted for it. If we were to test this abstract phenomenon of taking the rhythm of cities as our lens of infiltrating into the chaotic nature of cities we may find an approach that may offer multiple solutions. On taking Ramses Square as a testing ground to explore our theory further we decided to enhance our understanding of what adds to the rhythm of the city. Rhythm, according to the Merriam - Webster dictionary means "the recurrent pattern formed by a series of sounds having a regular rise and fall in intensity" . We should not forget that noise also falls into the category of rhythm. This takes us further into classifying the difference between noise of a city and musical rhythm of a city. It is our understanding that they both may constitute as one. This can be proved by the experiencing experimental musical phenomenons such as that displayed by the dance troupe STOMP and the sound and visual compositions by the Blue Man Group. The former being more inline with our theory by proving how the irritating noise of smashing trash cans could be choreographed into music and the latter provide a surreal interpretation of sounds to visual elements around us.

Sonic City During 2002 - 2004 a project titled Sonic City by the collaboration between Future Applications Lab (Viktoria Institute) and PLAY Studio (Interactive Institute) in Goteborg, Sweeden. It was funded by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF) through the Mobile Services project, by the European Union IST program through the Smart-Its project, and by VINNOVA through the IT+Textiles project. Sonic City was a new form of interactive music instrument which used the city as an interface. It enabled users to create a real-time personal soundscape of electronic music by walking through and interacting with urban environments. Paths were considered as musical compositions and mobility through the shifting contexts of a city as a large scale musical gesture. A prototype was designed and built where the system retrieves information about environmental context and user action, and maps it to the real-time audio processing of urban sounds, resulting in music heard through headphones. When wearing the system, one engaged into a musical duet with the city: urban atmospheres, random encounters and everyday activities all participated in creating music as one was walking. At the cross-road between urban exploration and experimental music making, Sonic City promoted the integration of everyday life settings and practices into personal forms of aesthetic expression with the help of Ubiquitous Computing.

Sound experiment In September 2007 Interactive Institute Artists-in-residence Ann Rosén and Sten Olof Hellström held a temporary sound experiment at Kista Science City, Stockholm, Sweeden. They temporarily placed sound installations in three public spaces in Kista. Berlin Choreographer Ingo Reulecke was invited to observe and interpret people´s reactions.

The experiment's aim was to find out if and how the sound installations affect people’s movement patterns and behaviour in public spaces.These are two samples related to the exploration of sound being an integral part of the people city interactional experience.

Every global city even though part of a greater network has an identity of its own. Each one of them participate and operate on a global platform due to this identity. This may have arisen due to its geographical location, infrastructure, global policy, connectivity, economic considerations, tourism and history. Or is in the case of some fascinating cities all of these factors. The dialogue is about having to discovering the identity of a city or growing into one that it believes in. Dubai is an example[good or bad] of such a city that delved into creating an identity for itself on a global scale. As participants of Ramses Square our focus is to not only develop the urban narrative of the region with integrated networks but also to help find its identity. Our challenge is to do this not primarily through the presence of an artifact that can be removed or destroyed but through creating an environment that plays an integral part of the urban fabric. Artifacts, sculptures, figureheads are transient elements within a city.They perform the function of decorating a city .Many a times they maintain a symbolic representation of an era or a person.Hence like decoration they are transient and not ever lasting.Programmable space on the other hand forms a responsive interface between the user and the city.A space that influences the daily interactions of the people of the city.

Ramses square offers a challenging disposition. Like other squares within developing countries with extremely historic influences Ramses Square is inflicted between the clash of progress and history. The city has been wise to invest in mass transit but unfortunately has lacked in the co-ordination between the different networks. The construction of the 6th October Bridge as a sense of pride for the city has made it extremely catastrophic for the square it self. The Bridge/Freeway not only bifurcates the square but is a testament to the promotion of the use of cars in our cities. In an attempt to cater to the cars on the freeway the under side of the freeway has been further subdivided into a jumble of street networks that not only enhance congestion but also generate noise and air pollution. Pedestrians are blocked by use of large metal gates and are at the mercy of the local operator to stop them or let them through. There is a huge lack of pedestrian walkways and pedestrian signals that enable the area to be people/ pedestrian friendly.

Apart from the prevalent chaotic nature of the square the neighborhood boasts of a rich historic, educational and commercial grain. These zones of the area are required to be made as the core zones around the square. They will function in providing support to the main space.

In our most humble opinion we see Ramses Square as the center to a large framework of development that will influence not only the immediate surroundings but it is our hope that it will begin to have an impact on the larger scale.

The Egyptian Civilization is known to have been in existence since 3150 B.C. Modern Egypt has been independent since 1922. Misr Station was formed in 1856 and rebuilt in 1955. A large park was developed by the epoch of Mohamed Ali in 1844. Since its inception the Square has been of a transient identity. This can be seen from its transformation into Bab Al Hadid with the conception of the Misr Station and later into what we know it today as Ramses Square.

The above analysis of the timeline shows that the square in itself had existed for a centurey prior to the arrival of the colossal Ramses statue in 1955. Up to present date, the timeline shows that the space of Ramses/Bab Al- Hadid has been in existence for a period of 165 years[1844 to 2009] . For half a century the space has cradled the statue of Ramses II.

Hence the statue formulated an identity for the city of Cairo and the square over all these years. Its mammoth size and historical reference enabled it to become a symbolic representation for the city. It was a perfect ambassador to represent the grandeur of a historic Egypt. But what about Future Egypt? What about the symbolic nature of Egypt in the next 100 years? With the removal of the Ramses statue on 25th August 2006 the square has been limping to regain its presence in the Egyptian fabric. Will we bring another symbol for the square? What happens if it is removed over time again? Is the transient nature of Ramses Square permanent? Our proposal begins at very pertinent juncture in the history of Ramses Square.Our proposal deals with the generation of a strategy that makes Ramses Square the catalyst to a series of events that transforms the existing fabric and positions Ramses square on a global platform.

Squares Public squares through the history of world civilizations have served as monumentally interactive spaces within cities of the world. The Roman Forums served as a city square and central hub where the people of Rome gathered for justice and faith. The forum was also the economic hub of the city and considered to be the center of the Republic and Empire. This was similar for the Greek Agoras.

In modern times the city squares has retained its historic function but at the same time has taken on a social role. For example Union Square, New York City serves as a hub for a multi dimensional activity. People of New York gather here to be part of the farmers market, watch street dancers perform, participate in free speech, meet friends and if nothing else to retrospect. After 09/11 this was the space within New York City where thousands of people congregated together to offer their support.

Some squares such as Piccadilly Circus in London and Times Square have become more touristic enterprises. These squares have become destinations on a touristic map that specifically cater to transient users but provide a strong economic framework for the tourism aspect of the city.

Squares are also the center stage for the political participation for the city. Very few squares have matched up to the scale as that of Tiananmen Square in China on the political realm. Tiananmen Square has been the site of a number of political events and student protests. These include the May Fourth Movement in 1919; the proclamation of the People's Republic of China by Mao Zedong on October 1, 1949; annual mass military displays on all subsequent National Days until October 1st, 1959; the 1984 military parade for the 35th anniversary of the People's Republic of China and the 50th anniversary in 1999; and for mass rallies during the Cultural Revolution. The protests of 1989 resulted in the massacre of Chinese protesters in the streets to the west of the square and adjacent areas. There were reports that 2,500 people were dead and 7,000 - 10,000 people were wounded according to the Red Cross. Ironically the name of the square translates to "Gate of Heavenly Peace". The square covers 40.5 hectares (100 acres) making it the largest open-urban square in the world.

The symbolic and physical manifestations of public city squares have transcended its edges. They are the parts of the urban fabric that connect all the other disjointed parts of what makes a city liveable and functional.

Todays squares are engaged with high levels of multiplicity. They not only overlap with the layers of infrastructure and transportation but have morphed themselves into being the most interactive parts of any city. At the same time they are also platforms that are enabling neighborhoods to revitalize themselves. In certain cities of the United States such as Baltimore, MD apart from the city's push for the artistic influences as part of their incentive for development , the maintenance and development of squares is acting as a catalyst that is enabling broken down and abandoned neighborhoods to regenerate themselves.

Pedestrianisation From the data issued by the competition organizers there are a total of 326,767 pedestrians that engage with Ramses Square directly itself. The same data also shows there are 292,068 people in the overflowing pedestrian zones. This amounts to a total of 618,835 approx. 620,000 that are engaged with the square. Considering this density of people the obvious choice is to pedestrianize the area. However, we are hesitant to pedestrianize any zone without providing for overlapping networks to cater to public densities. Given the present situation crossing a street around Ramses Square is not a comfortable proposition. Especially when it involves passing through the metal "gates" set up on side walks for crowd control. The streets are too wide for pedestrians to cross over in time before the cars start to speed down the streets.

The city unfortunately has been focusing its energies in making way for the "car". The anarchy that exists around and within the region of the square is a result of this focus. Due to all the traffic/streets that pass through the space has left Ramses Square to be a bifurcated traffic island with limited green space. Providing more space is not the solution. It will only create more chaos. The solution is to take ownership of Ramses Square and implement controls to the sporadic growth of streets.

6th October Freeway 6th October Bridge is an elevated highway in Cairo, Egypt, running through the city connecting part of the city to the highway to the Cairo International Airport, 20.5 km away. Its name commemorates the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War in 1973. The bridge was completed in 1996, construction taking no less than 30 years. It began with the modest, 130m-long phase 1, which merely connected the "smaller" branch of the Nile from Gezira to Agouza (and took from May 1969 to August 1972 to build), to the ninth phase, which completed the 20.5 km total length. It runs from the Agricultural Museum in Dokki to the Autostrade in Nasr City. 6 October Bridge has been called the "spinal cord" of Cairo, as half the population uses it on a daily basis. Due to its pivotal role in Cairo traffic, the bridge is always crowded, making the trip from one end to another take as long as 45 minutes.

Through the survey traffic volumes provided our analysis shows that within a time period of 9hrs 9,400 private cars/ taxi cabs would have used the bridge. This averages out to 1000 cars per hour approx. 16.6 cars per minute. This is a tremendous load on not only the infrastructure but also on the environment. It is obvious from the Film supplied and the data that there is a huge amount of congestion on the freeway. The congestion leads to more amount of fuel being burned in a time where preservation of natural resources is of the the utmost importance. Due to the overwhelming number of cars traversing over the bridge the spill over has transcended into the space on the underside of the bridge creating a disjointed realm filled with cars and traffic. However our analysis also shows that this is only the start of the chaos. Studying the transportation masterplan of 2050 provided by the sponsors reveals that many new freeways are proposed and Egypt is on its way to creating the same mistake that many american and european cities have made. Los Angeles is a perfect example of how planned freeways have turned out to be non beneficial to the city and its people. It is a city where people live in their cars and are always in grid lock. An urban catastrophe.

"L.A. to me is the worst example of the idea of habitat I know. Which is get in a car and drive for an hour, then get in the car and drive for another hour. If you want to see people meet them in the mall. This to me is the wrong way to live and yet that is the way cities are being built" Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of The Earth Institute Columbia University

Cities like Los Angeles are now in process of rectifying their cities by investing into mass transit and sustainable forms of energy. Cairo sits at a perfect opportunity where it can learn from the mistakes of others. However, Cairo's transportation plan follows much of what Los Angeles has done i.e. promote the use of cars. The question is what is the strategy of transportation in coherence with development of the future of Cairo? And how does Ramses Square fit into the larger scheme? What measure is the city undertaking in terms of Mass Transit for the 3,000,000 tourists targeted to visit the new Grand Egyptian Museum,Giza that will be the new residence of the Ramses statue?

Proposal Egypt is in a transitional and evolving status thereby it has potential to transcend itself into a paradigm of the future. Thereby its cities are in a state of flux where they are discovering or rediscovering their identities. The city of Cairo definitely has strong associations with it great historic past. This raises a series of questions ranging from whether the city is in itself at the point of evolving itself into a global metropolis? How does a historic city cope with the modernity that is alien compared in comparison to a historic past that has been prevalent for centuries? Ramses Square offers a great challenge for designers to connect the threads of history to the future. However Ramses Square is not the puzzle itself. It is a part of the larger puzzle that in the end integrates itself into a larger global perspective.

Cities have achieved these transformations many a times. In the past Chandigarh, India is an example of a developing nation taking such an opportunity in creating a city that was far ahead of its time in terms of ideologies and planning strategies of the time. Chandigarh was the product of Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Matthew Nowicki, and Albert Mayer with the foresight of the then first Prime Minister of India Jwahar Lal Nehru to create a city "unfettered by the traditions of the past, a symbol of the nation's faith in the future." The overlap in government strategies with Corbusier's ideologies led to the creation of one of the futuristic cities of its era which even today holds the fascination of modern day architects and planners. Lile, Paris transformed itself from a small industrial town to business center with the arrival of the TGV and strategic planning of building its convention center. The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao is another great example of where a decaying city proposed to revitalise itself with the proposal of building an art museum in its midst. Today Bilbao is one of the most visited cities in Europe and the town has seen a complete transformation in revenue and employment. Such a moment exists for Ramses Square and the city of Cairo to be the front runners in the implementation of global sustainable strategies. Connectivity and access has always been the essence of every global city. In the 1800’s with the arrival of trains Paris grew from 550,000 people to 2,500,000 people by 1900. Over the same period London grew from 8,60,000 to 4,600,000. As new transportation infrastructure were laid down new contexts for living appeared. Dubai transformed itself into a global entity by implementing strategies with started as it becoming a port of free trade and then transforming itself into a major global center.

Our proposal begins with the analysis of Ramses Square however the solution lies on a much larger global scale. The 6th October Bridge has served the city of Cairo for a large number of years. It has been even termed as “spinal cord” of the city of Cairo. The density of traffic that passes over this bridge has peaked. It is evident from the data and the film provided that a solution is imperative as this single thread of system can not function for too much longer in this age of modernity and speed. The plan of the highway to cut into the center of the city was not a completely thought out process. The 30years spent in its construction did not help either as many nuances ranging from culture to technology evolve within that span of time. Nevertheless the situation still remains to the plight of the person stuck in traffic for endless hours. This plight is not only affecting the social mind set of the people but also costing the city in terms of efficiency and functioning. Part of the solution is to agree on the fact that the car is not the only mode of transportation. This ideology is evident in cairo due to the existence of the metro and tram lines. However from the analysis of the existing networks we find them broken in connectivity within one form or the other. Our proposal looks at the project through 4 different lenses and scales. 1)Global scenarios 2) Evolution of transportation networks that operate on a regional scale along with their impact on local situations as well as their interconnectivity. 3)The immediate orchestration of the urban scenario at Ramses Square. 4)The future of Ramses Square and Cairo in the next 50 years

Our approach begins instantly with understanding how the networks work on the regional scale. Studying of the transportation masterplan it is our understanding that there is a lot of emphasis being put into catering for the “car”. We would like to suggest that Cairo’s focus should be on creating an interconnected mass transit system. Provision of accesses and comfort to the car will lead into more congestion and more rush hour jams on more highways. Dense cities with dense population must rely on mass transit as their form of effective transportation or risk being stuck in grid lock bumper to bumper for hours.

A “Node” is an intersection of two modes of modal lines and is thus a potential interchange. Some modes are materialised in space as railway stations, airports, network hubs and ultimately cities. For a node the greater its size the greater its socio-economic pull. If the growth of the node accelerates, if its mobile programs and infrastructure amass and economically accumulate at mega scales a city agglomerates as a “Transmetropolis” R.O.A.M. – Reader On the Aesthetics of


Sequencing Organic narrative for an Intermodal City Ramses Square, Tahrir Square and Ataba Square already exists as points of interchange within the city traffic. However Ramses Square offers the most crucial problem of the overlapping of extensive network systems. The location of the 6th October Bridge is one of the most critical factors that affect the systematic functioning of the square below. The On and Off Ramps each further disconnect the city fabric. The mini streets planned by the city to enable the cars to get onto the freeway through Ramses Square further slice the square into a non pedestrian friendly space. The other critical aspect of Ramses Square is the amount of sound pollution that exists because of the car horns. This may seem to be a problem of less importance only because people have gotten accustomed to the sound to a certain degree. However let us not forget that it was because of the non powerful sound vibrations that the Ramses statue was evicted from its position within the square. Today it has affected the presence of the statue and in time the sound will soon begin to affect the buildings that surround it. But the question raised is there a way to translate the positive concept of sound into something more than that of a menace to space. Can urban sound be perceived into a positive concept the done by dance groups of “Stomp”[ described earlier in the text] ? Can we find an interactive medium such as that of sonic city to be able to listen to the rhythm of our cities?

The government of tourism is expecting 3,000,000 tourists through the launch of the Great Egyptian Museum. The 6th October Bridge has reached its peak. The built up of more freeways will not enable the fast and smooth approachability into the city as with the number of freeways that increase population densities increase and so do number of cars per person. Hence it is our proposal that the city concentrate its energies into creating an efficient system of Nodes within the city. Our focus is to refine the masterplan keeping in consideration the existing networks into a multi nodal city. For example metro stops can be linked with tram stops or bus stops or at times with multiple systems so as to enhance connectivity. Our proposal revolves around the hierarchy of the citys systems where the high speed rails, tram lines and metros are the major components whereas the automobile transport systems are limited to a minimum. Ramses Square performs as a Node on a local platform however its opportunities are limited due to being over run by the dominance of cars. our strategy is to dismantle the freeway and convert it into a platform of multiplicity within the city. Our studies indicate that this strategy would take solve many of problems that Ramses Square encounters. The positioning of a high speed corridor within the city enables Ramses Square to become a central hub. The high speed train, which at times can be run faster than speed of sound, will enable people to commute from far distance in extremely short intervals of time. The high speed train would run at lower speeds when in the city. We proposition that it run at two speeds depending on its location. When within the city it could be used by daily commuters. The price for commuters should be adjusted in a way that it is less than what it would cost to travel by ones car but slightly more than the metro. In the initial phase the high speed corridor will be developed to connect the international airport on the east side and the western airport at Eba. We believe the airport at Eba should be activated in keeping in mind the influx of tourism. The high speed rail systems will enable tourists to reach their respective hotels on the edges of the Nile in a matter of a few minutes. This will also enable transit passengers to spend time in Egypt before their connecting flights. The metro, bus[wherever possible] and tram lines will serve as the support network to the proposed high speed line. We propose that the interstitial left over space under the freeway be developed into a tram line that is part of a CBD loop. We also propose to charge the underside of the freeway by providing bike trails. This will provide cyclists a safe haven to ride their bikes away from the cars. On the top side the space on the sides of the high speed rail are to be developed as urban parks and skywalks that enable one to have majestic views of the city. Our approach involves the generation of transit oriented mixed use developments over and along the length of the high speed rail line. This will in reality build a more meaningful “spinal cord” of Cairo. This will however take into effect in a series of phases.

The first series of transformations that do take place will happen at Ramses Square. The foremost being the pedestrianization of the square. With the freeway no longer in existence the on ramp and off ramps become dysfunctional. This immediately puts into effect our ability to close off any access streets to the non functional On ramp. In our progress towards pedestrianization we will need to close off the tri partitions of Ramses Street thereby creating an entire automobile free plaza space. This pedestrianization will enhance the existing interaction of the city with its cultural and historic aspects as well. The location of the El Fath Mosque on the southern periphery forms the edge of the plaza and maintains a strong front presence and front door in comparison to earlier where it was segregated from the fabric. In continuum with the challenges of defining the urban face of Ramses Square we seek the corporation of various government agencies. Pedestrianization the urban space and provision of a high rail will not be sufficient to aid the city in achieving its goal of a global entity. Hence it requires global anchors such as the Arab League, the ministry of foreign affairs and the stock exchange to provide stability and power to square. The buildings planned in connection with the development of Ramses Square would be high rise towers that conform to global sustainability regulations. The placement of these power groups will help maintain the sanctity of the plaza. The on and off ramps will translate into Urban park lands which further connect to the green spaces on the top of the freeway. The roof of the metro station has been retrofitted with solar panels to generate electricity for the high speed rail and lighting of the plaza. The height of the roof has increased by 4M. This space has been programmed to be an exhibition gallery as well as a cultural information center. Sonictoria is designed as a semi open to air urban platform designed in front of the Kobry Lemon building. With Egypt being a great component of musical performances Ramses Square will now be able to play host to cultural events at this venue. In lieu with the pedestrianisation of the square the underside of the freeways are to be converted into Bike Trails that enables one to travel the highway in a safe manner distant from traffic and pedestrians. The bike paths have intervals where the pathways transcend down to the pathways via ramps. All ramps and platforms provided are handicapped accessible. These bike trails traverse through the city and then over the Nile into Gezira Island. A new tramway in the form of a CBD loop is proposed. This loop begins on the underside of the freeway on its way towards Tahrir and Ataba squares and ends at the El Fath Mosque. Kolot Beak is to be developed into a mixed use development where the lower floors are turned into retail stores with residential. This will develop into street bazaar spin that connects Ramses Square and Ataba Square.

As the T.O.D.’s progress towards the Nile their heights begin to diminish thereby enabling line of sight for the towers at a distance from the waters edge. As the high speed rail hits the tip of the waters edge it translates into a convention center, a landscaped elevated park for the city and the offices of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency.

The Convention Center is an essential component for the city as it will enable to generate economic stability to the region. Due to its proximity to all the major hotels on the water fronts edge and its easy accessibility due to the presence of the high speed train it becomes the ideal situation. Inorder for the support networks to be complete it is our recommendation that a plan be put into place to channel water taxis from the convention center proposed site over to Gezira Island. The edges of the nile can be reclaimed by the use of the sand excavated during the construction of the convention center and the EEAA offices to form the possibility of developing the waters edge into a board walk which people can access for picnics with their family, jogging, theatre and other cultural activities.

From the economic gains the city receives through the development of the high speed rail, T.O.D.’s and the convention center the high rail can be further expanded towards sheikh Zyed city on the west and the Aldiwan Arabic Language Center on the eastern side. This will provide the opportunity for peripheral regions to have means to access the CBD through an efficient mass transit system.The high speed train will move along the terrain of Cairo bringing with it sounds of development and progress.As it expands its reach the support networks of metro, tram and bus are not far behind to expand and connect the fabric through the development of various strategic Nodes. Accessibility will bring development.The high speed goal is to first be able to connect Alexandria to Luxor via Cairo reducing travel to 1hr 15mins.The future phases would be to connect all the way to Cape Town.The 50 year goal should be to connect Cairo to Dubai and London.This global out reach will expand the boundaries of the city that are limited to the edges of Zone 1, Zone 2 and Zone 3.

The envisioning of Ramses Square proposal offers many complex issues which involve the future of Cairo, the CBD and their relationship with Ramses Square itself.

Hence it becomes critical to develop an urban narrative for the city and its development. The overlap of networks, creation of nodes and the arrival of high speed rail [SONIC] will enable the city to create a new paradigm.

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