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  • Disposable Buildings » CSBE
    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 Disposable Buildings Disposable Buildings Urban Crossroads 36 We live in an age of disposable consumer items The more money one has the more one is expected to throw away objects of daily use on a regular basis and buy new ones to replace them This applies to a wide range of items including clothing mobile phones household appliances and automobiles Manufacturers regularly produce new models of their products that feature new designs and possibly a few added functional elements The new models most often are intended to make consumers feel that what they have is old fashioned and obsolete even though it still might be perfectly functional Where do buildings fit within this grand scheme of things Buildings often are constructed to last a life time In many cases they are intended to live even longer than that to survive into the distant future as testimonies to religions nations events or persons In Jordan we still view buildings as signs of permanence The ubiquity of stone in our part of the world definitely has contributed to this view Historical stone buildings after all survive on average far better than their equivalents in wood or even brick We generally come across two divergent positions regarding the life span of buildings On the one hand there is a view that not only accepts but also appreciates longevity for buildings This is expressed in the tremendous rise in the amount of architectural restoration and rehabilitation taking place over the past thirty years or so Older buildings have gained a new appreciation as places in which people live work and socialize As long as such buildings can be retrofitted to satisfy the needs of modern life i e to allow for the installation of modern heating electricity telecommunications systems it is a pleasurable experience spending time in them with their spacious windows thick firm walls well crafted materials high ceilings as well as attractive interior and exterior decorative details On the other hand a differing and widespread view treats buildings as disposable items to be replaced after a certain time span which in some cases does not exceed fifteen years This is the result of many reasons One is tax laws that allow owners to depreciate their buildings as one would depreciate machinery or office furniture and equipment over specified periods of time The idea behind depreciation is that these items eventually will need replacement and since this replacement is an

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/disposable-buildings/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Buy Now, Pay Later » CSBE
    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 Buy Now Pay Later Buy Now Pay Later Urban Crossroads 35 Houses in Amman Jumana Bississo Buy Now Pay Later is a recipe for a life of debt However it often is the only way through which many people are able to own a home Only a few people have the financial ability to buy a home with a single payment Some have to wait to inherit a house or inherit the money that would enable them to buy one Some only can buy a house if they are lucky enough to have well off parents who can help them out What many people end up doing instead is renting the homes in which they live In fact this is one of the reasons why various jurisdictions at one time or another instated rent control laws which keep the rent a tenant pays unchanged over the years This is what had happened in Jordan The problem with such laws is that they unfairly require a few citizens to heavily subsidize the housing needs of others even though this is a responsibility that society as a whole should shoulder Because of rent control laws rents in Jordan for numerous properties often remained unchanged for decades thus creating considerable structural imbalances in the real estate market and discouraging various forms of investment in it Only now are these rent control laws being phased out and market forces should completely rule the housing market by 2010 Instead of trying to keep rents low which is what rent control laws inefficiently attempt to accomplish a better solution would be to achieve high levels of home ownership High levels of home ownership traditionally have been closely connected to a country s prosperity and also to its economic political and social stability Securing ownership of a home means that a household

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/buy-now-pay-later/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Taking the Bus » CSBE
    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 Taking the Bus Taking the Bus Urban Crossroads 34 I usually prefer to avoid making comparisons between Amman and cities of the developed post industrial world I believe it is unfair to compare Amman with cities that have access to material and human resources unavailable to us and that also have strong and long traditions of governmental and non governmental urban institutions acting as guardians of various aspects of public life in the city including physical upkeep issues of civic mindedness and cultural activities Every now and then however one finds it difficult to resist the temptation of making such comparisons In my case the urge for making the comparison has been brought about by the fact that I am spending this term as a visiting faculty at an urban university in the United States I specifically would like to address the issue of movement of the city Since I am visiting for only for a few months it is both difficult and expensive to obtain a car In fact there is no reason for me to obtain a car even though I live at a considerable distance from the university and it would take me about an hour to walk to it from where I live I rely on public transportation and have the option of taking two bus lines or a bus line and a subway line to get to the university I usually leave in the mornings and return in the evenings i e during rush time At most times the bus and subway train are completely packed and one has to stand for the duration of the trip without any space to move The commute however proceeds smoothly The bus and the subway trains pass at regular and closely spaced time intervals Although they show marks of wear and tear they nonetheless are clean and generally well maintained The commuters almost without exception are polite and orderly None of them smoke and nobody pushes or shoves Most of the commuters either bring something to read while they commute or listen to music through ear speakers Even if I had a car I would not want to use it The bus and subway service is regular and parking in any case is difficult to find and what is available often is expensive I am pleased to be free of any dependence on a car and do not have to worry about its expenses whether related to gas maintenance insurance or parking In contrast I almost without exception never step outside my house in Amman without a car For many of us in Amman the dependence on the car has become as complete as it is for people in the United States living in distant suburbs I also do

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/taking-the-bus/ (2016-02-13)
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  • The Street Where I Live » CSBE
    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 Street Where I Live The Street Where I Live Urban Crossroads 33 I live in what is considered a relatively nice part of Amman It is not one of the city s exclusive neighborhoods but it is desirable to live in It is amongst the many extensions of Amman that have grown since the 1990s One of its advantages is that it is easily accessible to and from various parts of the city It has a combination of single family houses and apartment buildings although all new construction in it has consisted of apartment buildings The people on the street where I live for the most part seem to be nice people The neighborhood in many ways is typical of the neighborhoods found in numerous areas of western Amman The neighbors do not know each other very well I can recognize many of them by face I have some idea as to who they are and we might exchange hellos if we see each other while passing through the street but that is the extent of the relationship between us Consequently there is very little sense of a belonging to the neighborhood among its inhabitants All that is in common between the residents of the area probably is that they can afford to buy a housing unit there Each of the neighbors lives in his or her own world which is in itself a good thing since the lack of a private life and meddling in the affairs of neighbors associated with traditional neighborhoods and often well portrayed in works of literature cinema and television in the region are not characteristic of the street where I live The down side of this is that there is no sense of community along the street None of the neighbors seem to have much interest in the physical condition of what lies outside their individual properties A quick look at the street is enough to confirm this statement The sidewalks generally are neither well maintained nor well kept Their paving in many cases has fallen in a state of disrepair and the level of cleanliness leaves something to be desired It even is common to find sizable weeds growing out of the sidewalk paving One of our neighbors carried out construction work in his house a couple of years ago and a pile of sand and gravel left over from the construction work has been lying on his sidewalk since then There is one neighbor who did decide to pay attention to his

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/the-street-where-i-live/ (2016-02-13)
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  • City Infrastructure » CSBE
    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 City Infrastructure City Infrastructure Urban Crossroads 32 Electricity wires in the city The Jordan Times Cities are complex and sophisticated entities Although many of us spend most of our lives in them we often are totally unaware of the intricate web of elements needed to ensure that cities function in a reasonable manner It is these elements that make up the city s infrastructure The infrastructure of the city is based on its street system If we use an analogy to the human body streets are the city s veins and arteries they make up the city s lifeline They are the most public element of the city They are owned by all and they serve all Streets allow people along with the goods they produce trade in and consume to move around the city on foot as well as in private and public transportation vehicles They connect the city s residential commercial cultural recreational and institutional areas Streets come in different types those serving local stop and go traffic and those serving high speed express traffic those primarily serving vehicles and those primarily serving pedestrians or both as well as those serving one way traffic and those serving two way traffic Other elements of the city s infrastructure include the networks of systems in which water sewage electricity and information as with telephone and internet networks move Ideally all of those should be located underground although a number of them such as electricity and communications networks often are located above ground Above ground electricity and telephone lines definitely are an eye sore and are more susceptible to destruction by climatic factors and vandalism However they are cheaper to install and are easily accessible when the need for maintenance or repair arises Whether underground or above ground these infrastructural networks almost always follow the streets of the city Interestingly enough many of the infrastructural networks mentioned above are not new to the city Streets are as old as cities themselves Examples of water and sewage lines may be found since classical times Our region is rich with such historical examples For instance excavations have shown sophisticated systems for providing water and discharging

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/city-infrastructure/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Underpasses Everywhere » CSBE
    of Amman Introduction An Anatomy of the City Using Public Transportation in Amman Publications Resources Urban Crossroads Underpasses Everywhere Underpasses Everywhere Urban Crossroads 32 An underpass intersection in Amman Khalil Soub Amman has no shortage of intersections with no traffic lights usually consisting of two levels of underpasses referred to as tunnels located beneath street level traffic These have been constructed in Amman at a regular rate since the late 1970s A few years ago there seemed to be so many of them being built at a given time that a running joke stated that the city s motto should be an underpass for every resident Whenever one of those intersections was created it simply transferred the traffic congestion problems it resolved to the following intersection In turn this necessitated converting that subsequent intersection into one of underpasses with the occasional overpass and so on In the final result complete streets have had to be converted into ones with a series of underpasses along their intersections Streets that used to accommodate local stop and go service traffic now also have had to function simultaneously as fast moving expressways Zahran and Medina streets are two clear examples of such a development The verdict on these intersections is a mixed one On the one hand as the quantity and density of vehicular traffic has increased in Amman these intersections have eased the flow of traffic at numerous bottleneck locations I admit that I usually prefer driving along roads with these underpasses since they have no traffic lights at which to stop On the other hand these intersections have had a disruptive effect on Amman s urban fabric They have imposed high speed expressways with intersections consisting of three layers of traffic located on top of each other on what otherwise are relatively small scale low speed streets In the final result the streets with which we have ended up are neither of the above In cities all over the world a need has arisen since the advent of the automobile age for high speed arteries that cut through the city to allow vehicular traffic to move with ease and at relatively high speeds These arteries complement high speed ring roads that wrap around the city The arteries would include at least one that runs through one axis of the city north south for example and another that runs perpendicular to it east west What is absolutely crucial is that such cross city arteries are completely separated from local vehicular traffic Local vehicular traffic travels at a relatively slow rate and involves a great deal of stop and go movement of vehicles as they park or stop to load and unload passengers and goods Express traffic on the other hand involves non stop high speed movement The two types of traffic are mutually exclusive and any overlapping of them will have disastrous results as fast moving vehicles have to share the road with slow moving stop and go traffic The results will range

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/underpasses-everywhere/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Fixing Sweifieh » CSBE
    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 Fixing Sweifieh Fixing Sweifieh Urban Crossroads 31 Most agree that a district such as Sweifieh suffers from problems such as traffic congestion inadequate pedestrian zones chaotic parking patterns and a lack of separation between pedestrian and vehicular movement Resolving these problems poses a serious challenge Any effective solution for Sweifieh will depend on a clear separation between pedestrian and vehicular movement This primarily means that adequate comfortable and safe car free paths and areas reserved for pedestrians need to be provided Existing sidewalks need to be rehabilitated Continuity needs to be ensured along sidewalk stretches so that they are free of sudden changes in level The sidewalks need to be at a comfortable height from the street and ramps should be put in place to connect the streets and sidewalks for people with movement impairments Trees should be planted only along wide sidewalks so as not to hinder pedestrian movement Ideally these should be water conserving canopy trees that provide shade and allow people to comfortably walk beneath them A main challenge for pedestrians anywhere is crossing streets This is where pedestrian and vehicular movement intersect often resulting in uncomfortable and even unsafe experiences for pedestrians specially along streets that have to handle high levels of traffic Ramped pedestrian bridges and tunnels are ideal solutions since they completely separate pedestrian movement from vehicular traffic However these are complicated and expensive to construct They also require considerable space since accepted standards require 12 meters of ramp length for every meter of ramp height Another option is to use traffic lights to regulate the movement of vehicular traffic and allow pedestrians to cross safely In this case crossing zones should be clearly marked and their paving might be different than the street asphalt as with cobblestone or interlocking paving units preferably the same as those used for the sidewalks Parking in the area will need to be regulated The prevailing situation of more or less allowing vehicles to park wherever they please often on sidewalks and in whichever way they please at every imaginable angle and distance in relation to the sidewalk simply cannot be allowed to continue There are areas in Sweifieh where parking should be prohibited In some cases parking may be allowed at times when traffic is light as on Friday mornings Also when parking is allowed the specific

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/fixing-sweifieh/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Urban Solutions: Easier Said than Done » CSBE
    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 Urban Solutions Easier Said than Done Urban Solutions Easier Said than Done Urban Crossroads 30 How do we solve problems relating to traffic congestion inadequate pedestrian zones chaotic parking patterns and a lack of separation between pedestrian and vehicular movement All are problems that affect numerous districts in Amman such as that of Sweifieh Many of us are under the impression that these problems are easy to address It is common to hear reactions to such problems begin with the phrase if I was in charge I simply would Unfortunately the situation is not that simple Take the example of what initially appears as a simple task such as regulating parking along a congested commercial street A single car parked in the wrong location often can bring havoc to traffic A list of potential solutions for this problem include completely prohibiting parking along the street allowing parking during certain times of the day week limiting parking to certain parts of the street placing parking meters or prohibiting parking for the general public and only allowing it for residents living along the street through special parking permits Addressing such a problem begins with diagnosis One would need to observe parking patterns along that street at different times of the year different days of the week and different hours of the day From these observations one would identify causes and symptoms of the problem The diagnosis often is the easiest part of the problem solving process It does require time dedication and diligence as well as expertise and knowledge of the setting in which one is dealing However it is a clearly defined process that almost completely depends on the competence of the people carrying it out Putting forward solutions is the next step in the problem solving process It is a more involved and complex step than that of diagnosis One needs to take into consideration the stakeholders who will be affected by the proposed solutions In the case of regulating parking along a busy commercial street important stakeholders include the owners of the shops located along the street These will resist any attempt at limiting the freedom of their customers to park immediately next to their shops In Amman shop owners often illegally take over parts of the street in front of their shops and treat them as private zones reserved for

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/urban-solutions-easier-said-than-done/ (2016-02-13)
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