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This is the first of two chapters that trace the making of property markets in Cairo and Istanbul. Focusing on Cairo throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it traces how changing water ecologies, colonial capitalism and its infrastructural tentacles, the geopolitics of World War II, affective experiences of the 1952 Cairo Fire, changing logics behind rent controls, the 1992 earthquake as a (mis)managed disaster, and the city's sensorial experiences with industrialization and vehicle-based infrastructures transformed how different groups came to relate to and value property in the city's historic core and downtown. Tracing how these spatial-affective-material transformations shaped the creation of what I call particularistic value for different groups in the city's central districts, the chapter opens up new ways for understanding the vulnerabilities, opportunities, and violence experienced with the partial reversal of rent controls in 1996 that set the stage for urban interventions examined in later chapters.

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