Can The Vision Become a Reality?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Due to the stresses of urban sprawl, the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) is working on plans to allow more high-rise buildings in the city.

According to Amman’s mayor, Omar Maani, the city has no choice but to embrace high-rise construction over the coming years. While I tend to agree with the mayor’s assessment, such a plan must be well orchestrated in order to succeed. Considering the current lack of a master plan and the mediocre state of much of the city, the GAM is really going to have to step it up in order pull this off.

Fortunately, it appears that the GAM has recently been exerting a good amount of thought and effort into the city’s future development. The GAM is drawing up a plan earmarking the areas which can accommodate such buildings and growth. There are also studies underway to determine such expansive successes in other world-wide cities, such as Dubai, Vancouver and San Francisco.

According to the mayor, “Amman does not have a master plan and real estate is guided by regulations that were prepared over 25 years ago…a lot has changed since then.” Wow, there’s a shocker. But the mayor realizes that what is now needed is to modernize land planning and the regulatory regime, coupled with an upgrade in infrastructure to accommodate growth.

According to The Jordan Times:
Maani painted a bleak future if these issues are not addressed, including a loss of heritage, land use conflicts, inadequate infrastructure services, such as water and sewage, and a gridlock of the transportation system. He also referred to an increase in environmental degradation and a further loss of green areas.

The GAM is slated to adopt a new Master Plan in the next couple months with a Interim Growth Strategy in place, which is designed to facilitate controlled development in the mean time. The Master Plan is expected to provide clear direction for sustainable development over the next 20 years.

Amman planners have a vision to “develop Amman into a green and pedestrian city, a desert oasis…a modern and smart city.” Sounds like a fantastic vision; I couldn’t agree more. It’s time to get started, as there is a lot of work that needs to be done before this vision becomes a reality.

[source: The Jordan Times, November 10]


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