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  • To Centralize or Decentralize » CSBE
    Ever growing Amman Exploring the Early Islamic City Rehabilitating Old Aleppo The Landscaping Challenge If You Can t Maintain It Don t Build It Disposable Buildings Buy Now Pay Later Taking the Bus The Street Where I Live City Infrastructure Underpasses Everywhere Fixing Sweifieh Urban Solutions Easier Said than Done Amman s Urban Fabric What Went Wrong Energy Consumption in the City Sweifieh A Case of Urban Deterioration The Growth of Buildings A Tale of Two Shops The Economics of Zoning Jabal Amman s First Circle Area Nooks and Crannies Surfaces of the City Concrete Signs of the City Empty Plots Everywhere Amman s Most Beautiful District Amman Street Maps A New Frontier Soundscapes of Amman Airport Road Parking in Amman Privilege or Right Time Zoning To Commute or Telecommute The Shopping Mall Apartment Living Sidewalks of Amman Riyadh Property Rental Laws Beirut Public Transportation Cities of the Arab East Zoning Urban Sprawl The Domination of Amman Introduction An Anatomy of the City Using Public Transportation in Amman Publications Resources Urban Crossroads To Centralize or Decentralize To Centralize or Decentralize Urban Crossroads 45 Downtown Amman The Jordan Times As cities expand they eventually reach the smaller towns surrounding them eating up in the process the empty stretches of land usually agricultural located in between As a city reaches surrounding towns one scenario is to end up with a sizable metropolitan area consisting of the large city and the adjoining set of towns and in some cases smaller cities but with each maintaining its own administrative autonomy and its own character A very different scenario is for the expanding large city to swallow up the surrounding human settlements to create a single monolithic urban conglomerate that is administered by a single municipal structure It is this second scenario that has been taking place in Jordan These two scenarios are very much connected to two competing positions regarding how metropolitan areas should be administered One position argues that a single unified administrative structure for metropolitan areas is more efficient than having a series of independent municipal bodies governing a group of towns that adjoin a major city Accordingly the metropolitan area would have fully unified infrastructure systems that would address issues including traffic public transportation water supply and sewage disposal The unified municipal system also provides for unified zoning and building regulations The argument is that it is easier for the residents and businesses of a given metropolitan area to deal with one regulatory body rather than a multiplicity of them Also a single metropolitan municipal system would create a situation that allows for economies of scale in that it will have far more resources available to it in comparison to a series of smaller municipalities and therefore would be able to implement projects and offer services for the inhabitants of the metropolitan area that smaller municipalities would not be able to carry out Within the context of the developing world another argument supporting the development of unified single municipal bodies is

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/to-centralize-or-decentralize/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Educating Architects and Planners » CSBE
    Communities Moving Around Amman Moving Around the City Searching for the Inoffensive Gas Station Sweifieh Revisited Model Streets To Centralize or Decentralize Educating Architects and Planners What If Ever growing Amman Exploring the Early Islamic City Rehabilitating Old Aleppo The Landscaping Challenge If You Can t Maintain It Don t Build It Disposable Buildings Buy Now Pay Later Taking the Bus The Street Where I Live City Infrastructure Underpasses Everywhere Fixing Sweifieh Urban Solutions Easier Said than Done Amman s Urban Fabric What Went Wrong Energy Consumption in the City Sweifieh A Case of Urban Deterioration The Growth of Buildings A Tale of Two Shops The Economics of Zoning Jabal Amman s First Circle Area Nooks and Crannies Surfaces of the City Concrete Signs of the City Empty Plots Everywhere Amman s Most Beautiful District Amman Street Maps A New Frontier Soundscapes of Amman Airport Road Parking in Amman Privilege or Right Time Zoning To Commute or Telecommute The Shopping Mall Apartment Living Sidewalks of Amman Riyadh Property Rental Laws Beirut Public Transportation Cities of the Arab East Zoning Urban Sprawl The Domination of Amman Introduction An Anatomy of the City Using Public Transportation in Amman Publications Resources Urban Crossroads Educating Architects and Planners Educating Architects and Planners Urban Crossroads 44 The competence of a given professional depends to a great extent on the quality of education that he or she received This fully applies to professionals who play a major role in shaping our built environment as with architects and planners The importance of education clearly is understood in Jordan and there is much talk in the country about education specifically about architectural reform The debate on education also covers the various levels of education ranging from primary schooling to graduate studies The result of this debate will very much define the direction in which our educational policies will head Education is partly about empowering students to acquire information that is of use to them in their personal and professional lives and also as citizens in society A good part of education however is about helping students develop ways of thinking that allow them to master a variety of skills ranging from analyzing data to problem solving Often this requires people to be able to think beyond accepted conventional approaches or as the worn out but nonetheless still applicable clichés states to think outside the box Such thinking often depends on totally redefining the problems at hand A well known example of such a redefinition that relates to the built environment is that of addressing traffic congestion problems A frequent reaction to which decision makers have reverted when dealing with this problem is to increase the capacity of the city s street network to accommodate increasing traffic This entails widening existing street systems and laying out new streets A redefinition of the problem however would shift this emphasis on increasing street capacity to an opposing emphasis that of minimizing the number of vehicles using streets Once one accepts this

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/educating-architects-and-planners/ (2016-02-13)
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  • What If... » CSBE
    Later Taking the Bus The Street Where I Live City Infrastructure Underpasses Everywhere Fixing Sweifieh Urban Solutions Easier Said than Done Amman s Urban Fabric What Went Wrong Energy Consumption in the City Sweifieh A Case of Urban Deterioration The Growth of Buildings A Tale of Two Shops The Economics of Zoning Jabal Amman s First Circle Area Nooks and Crannies Surfaces of the City Concrete Signs of the City Empty Plots Everywhere Amman s Most Beautiful District Amman Street Maps A New Frontier Soundscapes of Amman Airport Road Parking in Amman Privilege or Right Time Zoning To Commute or Telecommute The Shopping Mall Apartment Living Sidewalks of Amman Riyadh Property Rental Laws Beirut Public Transportation Cities of the Arab East Zoning Urban Sprawl The Domination of Amman Introduction An Anatomy of the City Using Public Transportation in Amman Publications Resources Urban Crossroads What if What if Urban Crossroads 43 A pleasant sidewalk The Jordan Times I would like to propose a theoretical exercise Imagine you are presented with the opportunity to address one and only one aspect of urban life in Amman What if you could do one thing for Amman What would that be If I was presented with this exercise my choice would be the development and rehabilitation of the city s sidewalks and street crossings I would give this task priority even over other aspects of urban life in the city that require serious attention such as creating and maintaining parks and public spaces or rethinking Amman s zoning regulations If we are able to upgrade sidewalks and street crossings in Amman the quality of urban life in the city will improve tremendously The nature of pedestrian life in an urban center is greatly interlinked with its overall quality of life If people can walk comfortably and safely through a city they will interact more extensively and more positively with that city Developing sidewalks and street crossings is an example of a low intervention maximum impact solution for the city It can be accomplished at relatively little cost and without having to make excessive changes to the urban fabric or to urban infrastructural systems We need to upgrade our sidewalks to international standards Localities all over the world have developed standards for sidewalks We can study those standards and adapt and develop those of them that suit our needs and circumstances Available standards for sidewalks address a wide variety of issues including the widths of sidewalks and their heights from the street These standards also deal with plantings on sidewalks They specify the minimum width required for a sidewalk to accommodate plants They specify plants that may be used for the sidewalk in our case they should be drought tolerant durable and low maintenance plants They specify areas where low shrubs may be more appropriate and areas where canopy shade trees are more suitable Other issues that standards address are street furnishings street signs and bus stops These various elements need to be incorporated in a

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/what-if/ (2016-02-13)
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  • fixing Sweifieh » CSBE
    of the City Using Public Transportation in Amman Publications Resources Urban Crossroads Ever growing Amman Ever growing Amman Urban Crossroads 42 Le Royal Hotel Amman The Jordan Times Amman s growth is overwhelming What used to be a small town of about 2000 people in the early 1920s today is a metropolis of 2 million inhabitants The continuous expansion of Amman s area and population has been highlighted by drastic growth spurts that have transformed the look and feel of the city how people interact with it and its connections with the outside world both regionally and internationally A relatively recent disruptive change that affected Amman dates back to the early 1990s after the Second Gulf War and the influx of an estimated 300 000 people into Amman primarily consisting of Jordanian expatriates who used to live in the Gulf The transformations that affected the city as a result of this development were extensive Amongst other things the expatriates coming from the Gulf brought with them the relatively affluent life styles and consumption patterns to which they were accustomed and a wide range of businesses emerged in the city to accommodate their needs Amman consequently came to provide its residents with a diversity of products and services not available before On the physical level one of the most striking changes that took place in Amman then was the proliferation of apartment buildings Such buildings usually house a minimum of eight living units in contrast to the previously predominant housing type which consisted of a single family house that often would be expanded with time through the addition of one or two housing units on top of it Considering the rising demand for housing and the increase in land prices the higher density apartment building which zoning regulations allow in most parts of the city made more economic sense for developers and investors than the single family expandable house New construction in many residential areas of the city consequently consisted almost exclusively of apartment buildings rather than single family houses Amman however still has not adapted to this eight unit apartment building even though it has become the predominant residential building type in the city The residents of Amman still do not seem comfortable living in buildings that house eight or more unrelated families or sharing common spaces with neighbors as with the apartment staircase The new higher density in the city brought about by the apartment building also has resulted in increased vehicular traffic movement that the city has not been able to comfortably accommodate In addition many apartment buildings do not include adequate parking facilities and the streets along which they are located have not been able to handle the increasingly large number of vehicles that need to be parked along them It therefore is very common in Amman to come across relatively narrow two way streets with vehicles parked along both sides of them leaving room only for one way traffic thus causing considerable confusion and unpleasantness as

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/ever-growing-amman/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Exploring the Early Islamic City » CSBE
    of Two Shops The Economics of Zoning Jabal Amman s First Circle Area Nooks and Crannies Surfaces of the City Concrete Signs of the City Empty Plots Everywhere Amman s Most Beautiful District Amman Street Maps A New Frontier Soundscapes of Amman Airport Road Parking in Amman Privilege or Right Time Zoning To Commute or Telecommute The Shopping Mall Apartment Living Sidewalks of Amman Riyadh Property Rental Laws Beirut Public Transportation Cities of the Arab East Zoning Urban Sprawl The Domination of Amman Introduction An Anatomy of the City Using Public Transportation in Amman Publications Resources Urban Crossroads Exploring the Early Islamic City Exploring the Early Islamic City Urban Crossroads 40 The Umayyad Palace in the Amman Citadel CSBE There are many ways through which we obtain information about the past In the case of the recent past a good deal is conveyed through oral traditions Otherwise our knowledge of the past is conveyed mainly through its written sources and also through its material history which includes a wide range of physical remains such as utilitarian and decorative objects as well as buildings and urban fabrics that make up the built environment Some examples of the built environment have come down to us in relatively well preserved condition others only have survived as archaeological remains One period of history that has been the subject of considerable interest over the past century or so is that of early Islamic history the formative period of Islamic civilization which roughly extends from the first half of the seventh century through the middle of the ninth century Because of the relative insufficiency of written sources that survive from this early period a significant part of our knowledge of it has depended on excavation activities that have taken place in various Muslim sites many of which are located in greater Syria and in Iraq The information that these excavations provide has been supported by modern technological developments as with satellite photography which allow for extensive additional documentation of such sites Those excavations and supporting satellite photographs help us construct a better and fuller understanding of the social cultural economic and political history of the early Islamic period The early Islamic period was one in which numerous cities were greatly developed or even came into being The Islamic world s first imperial dynasty that of the Umayyads which ruled from 661 750 carried out considerable construction activity ranging from individual buildings to complete settlements primarily located in greater Syria This passion for construction was continued by their successors the Abbasid dynasty which ruled from 750 1258 The Abbasids however shifted their construction activities to regions located further east such as eastern Syria Iraq and Iran A conference that the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT organized a few weeks ago presented a number of findings regarding the early Islamic city The papers of the conference concentrated on important archaeological data made available by excavations carried out over the past

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/exploring-the-early-islamic-city/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Rehabilitating Old Aleppo » CSBE
    Its recipients have included well known architects such as Norman Foster of the United Kingdom Fumihiko Maki of Japan and Alvaro Siza of Portugal The award also has been given to two cities Barcelona and Mexico City This year the recipient of the award is the city of Aleppo more specifically the rehabilitation project of the old city which is being carried out by the Municipality of Aleppo in cooperation with GTZ the German Agency for Technical Cooperation Aleppo is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities of the world Over the centuries it evolved as a highly cosmopolitan multicultural center of trade and industry Its urban fabric reveals layers of habitation belonging to the Greek Roman Persian as well as Muslim periods The old city as it survives today is primarily the result of developments that took place since the twelfth century under Ayyubid Mamluk and Ottoman rule Thousands of historical structures literally have come down to us in old Aleppo the best known of which is its majestic citadel As with other historical cities in our region old Aleppo has suffered greatly during the modern period Its scenario of decline is not unique Since the late nineteenth century and especially after the middle of the twentieth century the more affluent inhabitants of the old city gradually began to move out to modern residences built at the outskirts of Aleppo In their place lower income groups primarily rural populations migrating from the countryside moved in Most often individual houses were divided up amongst a number of migrant families Other houses were rented out as sweatshops or storage facilities and some even were left to decay The businesses of the old city also moved to the new districts of Aleppo thus depriving the old city of much of its economic base The historical architecture of the old city consequently has suffered from a combination of abuse and neglect and the traditional vibrant socio economic composition of old Aleppo has been greatly undermined Its population declined by about a third over the past three decades so that today only 5 of Aleppo s almost two million inhabitants reside in the old city Another destructive force of the modern period to have affected old Aleppo is the usual culprit the automobile Beginning in the 1950s wide streets that accommodate vehicular thru traffic were built in the old city As a result parts of the old city s delicate traditional fabric which consisted of narrow bending streets a good number of which were cul de sacs were ruthlessly destroyed The new streets cut through neighborhoods and separated and isolated them from each other thus damaging their social and physical cohesiveness They also brought thru traffic from other parts of the city and with that came high levels of noise air pollution and traffic congestion A number of positive developments later began to take place The cutting of thoroughfares was halted in the late 1970s In 1984 UNESCO declared the old city as a

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/rehabilitating-old-aleppo/ (2016-02-13)
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  • The Landscaping Challenge » CSBE
    or Decentralize Educating Architects and Planners What If Ever growing Amman Exploring the Early Islamic City Rehabilitating Old Aleppo The Landscaping Challenge If You Can t Maintain It Don t Build It Disposable Buildings Buy Now Pay Later Taking the Bus The Street Where I Live City Infrastructure Underpasses Everywhere Fixing Sweifieh Urban Solutions Easier Said than Done Amman s Urban Fabric What Went Wrong Energy Consumption in the City Sweifieh A Case of Urban Deterioration The Growth of Buildings A Tale of Two Shops The Economics of Zoning Jabal Amman s First Circle Area Nooks and Crannies Surfaces of the City Concrete Signs of the City Empty Plots Everywhere Amman s Most Beautiful District Amman Street Maps A New Frontier Soundscapes of Amman Airport Road Parking in Amman Privilege or Right Time Zoning To Commute or Telecommute The Shopping Mall Apartment Living Sidewalks of Amman Riyadh Property Rental Laws Beirut Public Transportation Cities of the Arab East Zoning Urban Sprawl The Domination of Amman Introduction An Anatomy of the City Using Public Transportation in Amman Publications Resources Urban Crossroads The Landscaping Challenge The Landscaping Challenge Urban Crossroads 38 The National Gallery Park in Amman Osman Akoz Landscape architecture is a field that has not received the attention it deserves in Jordan Many have not even heard of it Those who have often confuse it with gardening and horticulture Landscape architecture is connected to those two fields and does include gardening and horticultural activities but its scope is wider Landscaping deals with the spaces of the built environment These spaces include streets medians sidewalks plazas parks and even the shoulders bordering roads and highways Landscape architecture not only deals with the planting of these areas but also with their overall shape their paving and their interaction with buildings located around them and between them It has been remarked that our human settlements should not only be viewed as collections of built up areas They also should be viewed as sets of open spaces that are weaved together providing corridors of movement outdoor places where people can interact pleasant visual vistas as well as green lungs in the city Our manmade spaces in Jordan need more care Relatively good maintenance may be provided for the asphalt paving of our streets which is one expression of our obsession with the automobile Unfortunately our other spaces are neglected The neglect even begins at the edges of streets along the sidewalks and shoulders that border them We need to put forward a strategy for dealing with our public spaces This includes developing standards and guidelines that enable us to develop these spaces in a manner that is easy to implement and maintain Concerning the issue of planting there is no shortage of trees ornamental plants and ground covers we can use that have minimal needs in terms of watering and maintenance True all plants need watering during the first three years of their life but there are numerous plants that can survive easily after

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/the-landscaping-challenge/ (2016-02-13)
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  • "If You Can't Maintain It, Don't Build It" » CSBE
    The Trans Jordan Trail The Dubai Model Urban Planning and Daily Stress Sharing the Road Where Should All the Garbage Go Smart Growth Desperately Seeking Amman The Urban Planning Moment Zero Tolerance The Demands of the Few and the Rights of the Many Staking Territory Goodbye Nature Have To vs Want To Whose Street is it Anyway What Happened in my Neighborhooud Exploring a Traffic Intersection Building Communities Moving Around Amman Moving Around the City Searching for the Inoffensive Gas Station Sweifieh Revisited Model Streets To Centralize or Decentralize Educating Architects and Planners What If Ever growing Amman Exploring the Early Islamic City Rehabilitating Old Aleppo The Landscaping Challenge If You Can t Maintain It Don t Build It Disposable Buildings Buy Now Pay Later Taking the Bus The Street Where I Live City Infrastructure Underpasses Everywhere Fixing Sweifieh Urban Solutions Easier Said than Done Amman s Urban Fabric What Went Wrong Energy Consumption in the City Sweifieh A Case of Urban Deterioration The Growth of Buildings A Tale of Two Shops The Economics of Zoning Jabal Amman s First Circle Area Nooks and Crannies Surfaces of the City Concrete Signs of the City Empty Plots Everywhere Amman s Most Beautiful District Amman Street Maps A New Frontier Soundscapes of Amman Airport Road Parking in Amman Privilege or Right Time Zoning To Commute or Telecommute The Shopping Mall Apartment Living Sidewalks of Amman Riyadh Property Rental Laws Beirut Public Transportation Cities of the Arab East Zoning Urban Sprawl The Domination of Amman Introduction An Anatomy of the City Using Public Transportation in Amman Publications Resources Urban Crossroads If You Can t Maintain It Don t Build It If You Can t Maintain It Don t Build It Urban Crossroads 37 A broken pavement in the Sports City district of Amman Paul Tate A young Jordanian architect who is studying abroad recently told me that one of the most useful and enjoyable courses he has taken dealt with the development of tourist facilities The course instructor who has had some experience in our region emphasized a simple rule for the construction of new projects if you can t maintain it don t build it Unfortunately maintenance is not one of our points of strength in Jordan Problems relating to poor or non existent maintenance are widespread Not too long ago I read with sympathy a column in this newspaper that criticized maintenance problems at Amman s Queen Alia International Airport Not only do we Jordanians deserve a well maintained airport but for many visitors to Jordan this airport is both the first and last place they use during their stay here A poorly maintained airport will have a negative impact on the country s image abroad especially since Jordan is developing tourism as an important component of its economy and also emphasizes openness to the outside world Maintenance problems of course do not begin or end with the airport They are visible all around us especially in our public buildings and

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/if-you-can-t-maintain-it-don-t-build-it/ (2016-02-13)
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