An urban design experience in Amman

15 11 2010

By: Majeda Sultan Hattar

In the last years the need of urban public spaces and pedestrian streets in Amman has occurred, and became one of the important topics on Great Amman Municipality table.

There for, new master plan was designed by restudying the streets, circulation, land use and public spaces.

One of the decisions taken was to regenerate the rainbow street, one of the oldest streets in Jabal Amman, near the down town where Amman started 100 years ago.

The plan was to transform the street into heritage attraction point also to keep its neighborhood character.

El-Naggar .M (Sidewalks, and an Identity, Sprout in Jordan’s Capital, New York Times, Feb 2010) mentioned in her article that “The city would not let Mr. Daher close the street to traffic so he had it paved with cobblestones, to slow the traffic, soften the view and fill the air with the rumble of traffic passing over the bumpy pavement. But most of all, Mr. Daher said, the sidewalks were flattened for walking.”

As a result, cultural events started to take a place in the street, Souk Jara for example opens every Friday in summer time as a traditional Souk with musical events at the end of it ( on the stairs leading to the down town).

For Jordanians, Rainbow Street project considered the most successful urban renovated place in Amman, as it didn’t change the character o the area but added more layers and social groups to the urban fabric.

On the other hand, few companies were heard from the local residents, as El-Naggar .M (Sidewalks, and an Identity, Sprout in Jordan’s Capital, New York Times, Feb 2010) said  “People like Rainbow Street. They mingle with Ammanis from other parts of the city. Some residents have complained about the foot traffic, and others have complained that prices and rents have gone up. But Rainbow Street appears reborn.”

Finally, in my opinion, more and more open spaces for public use are needed in Amman, in order to give the chance for all social groups to leave their comfort zones and get together, interact which will reduce the class discrimination and crate healthier environment.

References: El-Naggar .M (Feb 23, 2010) Amman Journal Sidewalks, and an Identity, Sprout in Jordan’s Capital, New York Times, [online], available: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/24/world/middleeast/24amman.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2 [Feb 23, 2010].

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