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Transformations and appropriations of the in-between spaces in Cairo

Sarah Aboualy (Department of Architectural Engineering and Environmental Design, Arab Academy for Science Technology and Maritime Transport – Cairo Campus, Cairo, Egypt)
Yasser Mansour (Department of Architecture, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt)
Sherif El-Fiki (Department of Architectural Engineering and Environmental Design, Arab Academy for Science Technology and Maritime Transport – Cairo Campus, Cairo, Egypt)

Open House International

ISSN: 0168-2601

Article publication date: 14 February 2022

Issue publication date: 3 February 2023




The paper aims to study the applicability of Lefebvre's everyday life theory “production of space” in Sheraton's in-between spaces upon local residents' daily practices. Space as Lefebvre said is a result and cause, product and producer. Sheraton District, Cairo comprises lots of underutilized spaces between buildings. The in-between spaces have great potentials for accommodating diverse activities. The present study addresses the phenomenon of in-between spaces in this district. It is argued that in-between spaces can be developed to realize better functional and symbolic values, as the users attach special meanings based on users' everyday living.


The study adopts a qualitative approach to investigate the above relationship on the mentioned district. The study devises direct observation to investigate people's behavioral patterns in such appropriated areas to analyze them in the light of preceding literature.


The study concludes that people's everyday practices could re-invent the in-between spaces by realizing new functions and meanings in dynamic and creative ways. That experience can apply to other underutilized spaces in the district and the city toward improving the built environment and the quality of residents' life.

Research limitations/implications

Finally, it is important to note that the findings of the study are limited to the studied context. Undertaking similar studies to other in-between spaces in Cairo, in other Egyptian cities or other countries may yield different findings. It may be equally interesting to study the means of adaptation in other underutilized urban spaces, such as those found underneath bridges, underneath buildings and on the rooftops.


The main aim of the present study is to examine the impact of everyday practices on the appropriation of a transformed in-between space in the aforementioned district, and the extent to which that may improve in-between spaces' role toward the local community, in order to promote such approach for developing many underutilized in-between spaces in the area. Toward realizing this goal, the study begins with a theoretical background about everyday life. Then, the paper addresses the theory of space appropriation. The outcome is then empirically investigated in relation to one transformed in-between space in Sheraton District, Cairo.



Aboualy, S., Mansour, Y. and El-Fiki, S. (2023), "Transformations and appropriations of the in-between spaces in Cairo", Open House International, Vol. 48 No. 1, pp. 185-203.



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