About the author
Pascale Nader is an independent market research consultant, specialized in consumer knowledge management in emerging markets, across the Middle East and North Africa. She consults with a network of local and international organizations to influence their business strategy and processes. As Director of qualitative research (2006-2008), she led a regional business unit that excelled in translating consumer insight into viable and competitive strategies for product, communication and systems development. Since 2008, Pascale is also a freelance business writer in Egypt, contributing articles on trends such as SME development and microfinance. She holds a BA in Economics from the American University in Cairo.
About the case study
As a result of neglecting construction codes in informal areas, more than half of Egypt’s housing stock has been built without monitoring or assistance. Unplanned housing and public spaces have left a mark on the country’s architecture, infrastructure and environmental sustainability, creating a demand for urban planners that look at both environmental factors and affordability in building real estate for a growing mass-market. ADAPT (Appropriate Development, Architecture and Planning Technologies) is a local architecture consultancy firm that examines how to meet the opportunities of building, upgrading and renewing urban real estate in Egypt’s informal economy. The company uses innovative applications of planning technology and locally available construction material to turn inadequate low-income housing into good quality, environmentally-friendly, affordable homes. ADAPT has more than three decades of experience in this approach in rural, urban and desert locations throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
The main actors involved in the business models include government municipality, master builders, local community and specialized associations or networks, as well as Ashoka. In terms of economic results, ADAPT has upgraded areas encompassing over 10,000 affordable housing units, and out of a total of 21 projects from 1983 to 2004, it has reported a gross volume result of US$20 million. Furthermore, ADAPT has trained and aided 100,000 people, and contributed to community and women empowerment. By using locally available resources instead of traditional pollutant construction materials like cement, ADAPT is also contributing to environmental sustainability.