Conservation of Climate Change Endangered Cultural Furniture Industry Heritage in Damietta, Egypt-CHIDE

Since the early 20th century, Damietta's craft furniture industry has succeeded due to working norms and networks characterized by enduring values of trust. Currently, this important example of cultural heritage is at risk from sea-level rise and political decision-making. This project examines how these practices, livelihoods can be protected.

Damietta's craft furniture-industry has been a resilient economic cluster since the early 20th century. Its success is based on working norms and social networks characterized by enduring values of trust. Classed as a regional and national industrial hub, this is the basis of Damietta’s reputation and its strong contribution to Egypt’s GDP. This important example of cultural heritage is now at risk from both sea-level rise and political decision-making.

The project examines how Damietta’s practices and livelihoods, and hence its inhabitants, can be protected. Sea-level rise may inundate much of the area and policy decisions aimed at ‘modernizing’ the industry will erode irreplaceable networks that represent important social capital and are vital for the people’s survival due to the variety of roles this industry provides.

The study will determine the extent and spatial patterns among its 36,000 furniture enterprises. Research methods include geo-location mapping, urban survey, and interviews with MSME owners. We will map the spatial distribution of the industry networks and identity areas of potential disruption from sea level rise.

Findings will: highlight the cultural significance of craft knowledge; build a case to protect practices and livelihoods; contribute to UNESCO ICH recognition; and recommend strategies for climate risk mitigation.

Project Details


Location: Damietta, Egypt, Northern Africa, Africa Organiser(s): University of Salford Project partner(s): Project Lead: Professor Hisham Elkadi , School of Built Environment University of Lancaster (Prof Stuart Walker), Centre for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe-CEDARE (Dr Ahmed Adbelrehim). Funder(s): Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), UK Funding received: £125,167 GBP Commencement Date: 12/2020 Project Status: Active
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