How CLUSTER is Bridging Western Urban Understanding From the Middle East to North Africa | Salma Elbasty & Sami Ferwati

Season 1 | Episode 18
35m | Aug 22, 2022

In this episode, my co-host Sami Ferwati and I chat with Salma Elbasty from CLUSTER (Cairo Lab for Urban Studies, Training and Environmental Research). CLUSTER undertakes a number of research, architecture, and arts-based urban initiatives with a special focus on analyzing urban informality and highlighting its role in our cities. During our discussion, we explore the impact of two of CLUSTER's major projects—the CAUL (Critical Arab Urban Lexicon) and their Creativity in Action toolkit—and how through their diverse programming they work with artists, artisans, academics, businesses, communities, and everyone else in between to bring their projects to life.

In this episode, you'll learn about:

  • urban informality and its role in creative cities,
  • the process CLUSTER follows to undertake their various creative, community-based activities,
  • the Critical Arab Urban Lexicon (CAUL) and the importance of translating urban terms into different languages, 
  • ALFABRIKA, CLUSTER's maker space and community hub,
  • and much more!

Guest: Salma Elbasty, CLUSTER

  • Website:
  • Twitter: @clustercairo
  • Instagram: @clustercairo

Co-Host: Sami Ferwati


This episode is co-sponsored by the University of Toronto School of Cities and the Department of Geography and Planning. 

About Urban Limitrophe:

  • Please visit for all episode show notes and references and guest details. 
  • Instagram & Twitter: @urbanlimitrophe 
  • Please address any related communication to hello[at] 


  • Music by Imany Lambropoulos
  • Podcast concept, development, and design by Alexandra Lambropoulos
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