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Damietta Spatial Profile (Egypt)

Being a safe haven in a region that has experienced much turmoil, Egypt has welcomed several waves of refugees over the years. Enormous population growth patterns coupled with rapid urbanisation and internal displacement has resulted in Egypt being one of the most urbanised countries in the world. There is no doubt about the fact that Egypt’s population has been and will keep increasing as economic and political stabilization returns to the county, with forecasts predicting a total population of 160 million in 2050. This has posed various challenges and strains on the country’s infrastructure, economy, and the quality of services. Additionally, the rapid population growth has led to an increase in housing demands and congestion. In response, UN-Habitat partnered with the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) to improve access to reliable public services and socio-economic opportunities for migrants and displaced populations in New Damietta city through the “Urban Planning & Infrastructure in Migration Contexts Programme”.  

As a first step, the spatial profile was developed for the Republic of Egypt at a national level and Damietta Governorate at the regional level to improve spatial understanding of the existing situation. Then a deeper analysis at the local level of New Damietta city was developed which identified and mapped challenges, provisions, and gaps in public infrastructure. This multiscale analysis was built upon data collected by the various actors using a participatory approach. Community participation was essential in the process to insure a bottom-up approach. A more detailed scenario building will be conducted under the next component. 

The hierarchical scalar technique ensured that each scale was interconnected. This method enabled in-depth study of the challenges and opportunities at all levels in order to assist municipalities and other key stakeholders in mainstreaming migration challenges into spatial urban analytics and urban infrastructure investment planning.