Policies and plans for the modernisation of Ciaro - The Egyptian capital immediately appears as a case full of indications for a more comprehensive study on the alternating recourse to what might be defined as the ‘theoretical plan’, as opposed to the prevailing priorities dictated by the contingencies of ‘realpolitik’. At the same time, one distinguishing feature of urban planning policies for Cairo in the second half of the twentieth century is their ambivalence. On the one hand there is the literal presentation of urban models drawn from a sort of ‘European catalogue’ of past experiences. On the other hand, there is a pull towards a more profound implementation of those same schemes. Five zoom-ins on Cairo.