One in every two people now live in urban areas. According to PWC, a staggering 90 percent of that urban growth is expected to take place in Africa and Asia. Rapid urban growth is a doubled-edged sword, and being in both continents, Egypt needs to be prepared to whatever the future holds in that matter. To be able to turn the pending challenges to the country’s benefit, Egyptian urban planners, thinkers, and doers will need to use new solutions to solve old problems. And that’s where KMT House comes in.

As MENA’s first coworking space dedicated solely to urbantech (urban technology), KMT House [say: KEMET] is a hub for innovators who experiment with everything from technology, mapping, urban data, and culture. Kemet is an Ancient Egyptian word that literally means the “black soil” of the Nile inundation, which made possible the cultivation and civilization of the otherwise desert landscape of Egypt. Seeking inspiration in its Egyptian roots, KMT aims to inspire a new generation of city makers to make more liveable, smarter cities.

KMT House Speakers.

Dr. Wessam El-Beih, Country Director, Egypt, Drosos Foundation and Mazen Helmy, founder of District Spaces. Courtesy of KMT House.

With a generous fund from Drosos Foundation, KMT House became a reality and has been hosting coworkers since October. Additionally, it has become home to events like the Health 2.0 hackathon, which kicks off on March 8. “I believe that young people hold the skies of the future and that, through supporting a creative hub such as KMT House, ideas can become realized into solutions for sustainable development and for making cities more functional and productive,” said Dr. Wessam El Beih, Country Director, Egypt, Drosos Foundation.

“If you have an idea to make better cities, please join us. If you don’t, you can join us as well and get inspired,” Mohamed Helmy, KMT House’s founder, told the audience. 

“KMT House aims to be an inclusive space where urban players from across Egypt and Africa can collaborate and innovate. Beyond being a coworking space, our vision for KMT House is to truly be an innovation hub that welcomes people from different fields to work together to make our cities better,” he added.

The House has found home in an ancient mansion that carries a long history that goes back to World War II, located in Street 15 in the leafy district of Sarayat El-Maadi, and officially launched on March 6. At its opening, KMT House provided urban players with space to showcase their work before attendees, who roamed the spacious garden and indoor space.

Schaduf hydroponics' exhibit. Courtesy of KMT House.

Schaduf hydroponics’ exhibit. Courtesy of KMT House.

Organized as an expo-style event, the launch brought together urbantech entrepreneurs like Schaduf, Cairo Hackerspace, Creatables, Jereed, Readymade, Baladini, and Faces Studios to exhibit their work in the large garden and first floor of the House. The audience walked through the display as they listened to jazzy oriental tunes. An exhibit in the back passageway included work by architects and artists Heba El-Sawy, Omar El-Melegy, and Mostafa Salem. Visitors’ experience culminated in a VR van and mobile fablab by Cairo Hackerspace, which took visitors on an unexpected virtual journey.