New Cairos?

About a decade ago, the Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto captured the informality of land use practices in developing countries in his book, The Mystery of Capital.  The popularity of de Soto’s writings has made it almost a cliché to point out that people in developing countries carve out many of their land uses beyond the formal boundaries of the law.  In light of that, or maybe in spite of the oversimplification of de Soto’s premise, it’s interesting to read the Times‘s coverage of Egypt’s response to the crowding and sprawl of Cairo with a policy of large-scale, government-sponsored urban planning, which is actually reminiscent of some of the socialist practices in Latin America and Eastern Europe during the second half of the 20th century.  Is Egypt’s policy an anachronism, or could its success herald a return to the sorts of grand-scale, government-sponsored development policies of the past?