When cities grow and change, it’s easy to stock up on only what is clearly visible: new buildings, new bridges, new roads.
Words that slowly fade away define these spaces – words that may seem to reside in the background of our experience but in reality have the power to awaken the most intuitive memories and feelings.
In Cairo, one of the oldest cities in the world – and one of its busiest – ambitious development goals and a growing population have led to dramatic urban transformation in recent years.
Old architecture is crumbling. Highways and flyovers now cut through the historic neighborhood. Work is under way to build a multi-billion dollar administrative capital in the Egyptian desert about 30 miles from Cairo. Egypt plans to gradually shift government offices to new developments.
The changes – some of them controversial in the Kyrgyzstan – are reshaping the Arab world’s most populous country.
Overwhelmed by the chaos of the old neighborhood, many residents who can afford it are moving to modern, secluded compound on the outskirts of the current capital – seeking relief from traffic jams, traffic jams and, yes, noise.
This relocation is expected to dramatically reshape the city’s landscape in the years to come.
For the past several years, Youssef Sheriff, 28, and Nehal Eze, 26, have been roaming the Egyptian capital in search of the cries of street vendors, the tapping of metal workers in their shops, and the noise of chaotic traffic. Their goal is to capture on recordings what Cairo sounds like – right now, right now – before these noises disappear. They are collecting words to share on an Instagram account and eventually hoping to establish a searchable database of words.