The workshop will focus on the themes of sustainable water management, informal settlements and sustainable housing, and urban health and well-being. Of particular interest will be the nexus of these themes with building codes and policies, and the role of governments in encouraging the development and implementation of sustainable cities.

A Venn diagram of the 2019 NSF Workshop themes intersecting.

Sustainable Water Management

Egypt and many arid regions face increasing water scarcity, exacerbated by population growth and demands by agriculture and industry. This theme will examine the integration of urban design with water management, water treatment, and water recycling. The working groups will explore the factors contributing to water scarcity in Egypt and the potential for sustainable infrastructure designs to ameliorate them. It will address the need for partnerships among government, researchers, and urban developers to reduce demands in the water system.

Informal Settlements and Sustainable Housing

Informal settlements represent a significant challenge not only in Egypt, but worldwide. A response to a lack of affordable housing, they continue to grow in many areas despite government efforts to contain them. New approaches, however, hold promise to provide the housing needed by the urban poor and upgrade these areas. This theme will focus on current initiatives to upgrade informal settlements, what strategies have had the most success, and how principles of sustainability can be incorporated into those strategies. Of particular focus will be how the government can team with residents and researchers to provide sustainable solutions.

Urban Health and Well-being

This theme addresses the elements of a livable city and their influence on population health, from personal and behavioral health to societal/environmental factors. It will examine how neighborhood living conditions related to infrastructure, green spaces, physical activities, and food access may impact population health, and it will attempt to understand the relationship between smart, sustainable and livable cities and population health and wellbeing. Finally, it will explore the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders (government, urban population, health care providers, etc.) and articulate the need for future collaboration.