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The Boston Globe

Ideas

BU professor Farouk El-Baz’s plan to fix Egypt — from space

What’s the best way to heal a country? Examine its geography, then think big.

Egypt prides itself on being a civilization thousands of years old. But assuming it survives its current political turmoils, that civilization may face a new kind of crisis: Just 6 percent of the Egyptian landmass, on the fertile soil of the Nile Valley and the Delta, holds nearly all its 85 million people. As the population grows and builds more housing, the country is burying its key arable land under a layer of concrete.

Farouk El-Baz, an Egyptian-born professor of electrical engineering and archeology at Boston University, believes he has a solution. And his plan, which he’s been formulating for 30 years, proves that Egyptians haven’t stopped thinking about infrastructure on the scale of the pharaohs.

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