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  • Signs of the City » CSBE
    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 Signs of the City Signs of the City Urban Crossroads 21 Abdun Circle Amman Jumana Bississo There are many sources of visual pollution in the city These include not only shoddily designed and implemented streets and sidewalks but also features ranging from the profusion of telephone and electricity lines to the uncontrolled spread of billboards and building signs In Amman and generally in this region as a whole we face a serious problem with billboards and signs When examining building signs the billboards polluting the sides and medians of streets and highways are the subject of a separate investigation we face a state of almost complete visual chaos One will find small shops each of which has over five signs announcing its presence On the level of whole buildings it is common to find buildings plastered with signs that conceal much of the original façade Some of these signs are small ones measuring no more than a half meter by half meter and placed along the higher stories of the building where no one is able to read them Moreover while some signs are placed parallel to the building surface others will be perpendicular to the surface jutting out of it There basically is no limit to the lengths that people go through in Amman to create unusual signs For example there are two signs in different parts of Amman each of which has a half of the same Volkswagen Beetle car projecting out of it Interestingly enough neither shop sells anything related to automobiles A more relevant though equally curious sign is that for a shop that sells chairs As one would expect the shop sign has real plastic chairs attached to it More recently there has been a proliferation of mega sings that are placed on top of buildings and often are higher than the building itself In the final result the building often becomes a billboard The idea of building as billboard is not a new one and architects as well as architectural and urban critics have been exploring this subject for decades Among the most perceptive of those is the renowned American architect and author Robert Venturi In his design entry for the 1967 National Football Hall of Fame building competition Venturi concealed his building behind a large billboard This electronic billboard was intended to announce to approaching automobiles the results of football games taking place at the time In fact Venturi regularly has defended the idea of the modern vernacular including what often are tasteless signs and billboards As part of

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/signs-of-the-city/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Empty Plots Everywhere » CSBE
    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 Empty Plots Everywhere Empty Plots Everywhere Urban Crossroads 20 An empty plot in Amman Mohammad al Asad Amman has an abundance of empty plots Until very recently it was estimated that such empty plots took up about half of Greater Amman s 526 square kilometers This ratio should have gone down as a result of the current building boom though not by much Ideally the subdividing of new plots in an urban center should take place in a gradual manner As the population of the city grows and a need arises for more buildings new areas would be subdivided to accommodate that need Planning authorities also would put in place long term strategies that define the directions of physical growth for the city and identify areas to be subdivided in the future for residential commercial cultural recreational office or industrial purposes Accordingly the physical expansion of a given urban center would be brought under control and kept in tune with the growth of its population and economic activities In Amman the subdivision of plots has followed a different path Although Amman is a city that has experienced tremendous growth from about five thousand inhabitants in 1920 to about two million today the subdividing of land in the city especially since the 1970s has taken place at a highly rapid rate that has surpassed its rate of growth As a result most of the areas of Amman located outside its boundaries from the 1960s have an abundance of empty plots Such a ubiquity of empty plots is not healthy Infrastructure services need to be provided for underutilized areas Moreover these empty plots often end up as dumping grounds for the neighbors who use them to get rid of garbage and even construction debris In short these empty urban plots provide for an inefficient use of land and are eye soars in the city How did such a situation come into being It is partly a result of accumulative inefficient planning decisions Another reason is related to the fact that a number of the plots have multiple owners who inherited them from what originally was a single owner When the inheritors are unable to agree on what to do with these plots they are left as is neither built upon nor sold to someone who would build on them However another more complex reason for this state of affairs is related to economic developments In developing world economies at least in our region land is a very attractive medium in which to place one s savings True an empty urban plot of land is almost always an unproductive form of investment It also has very low liquidity

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/empty-plots-everywhere/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Amman's Most Beautiful District » CSBE
    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 Amman s Most Beautiful District Amman s Most Beautiful District Urban Crossroads 19 Arabic and French covers of book En Parcourant Jabal Al Weibdeh Traversing Jabal Al Weibdeh is the most recent addition to the few publications addressing Amman s architectural and urban evolution This small elegant bilingual Arabic and French monograph published by the French Cultural Center includes short essays about Jabal al Luweibdeh a transliteration I prefer to Jabal Al Weibdeh by Jordanian writers Elias Farkouh Samiha Khreis and the late Mo nes Al Razzaz It also features a lengthy essay by Xavier Guillot a French architect and academician who had taught architecture in Jordan for a few years and a set of photographs of the area by photographer Pierre Devin If one is searching for documentation regarding the evolution of Jabal al Luweibdeh Mountain of al Luweibdeh this book would be the wrong source to look at This publication is not concerned with documenting the history of Jabal al Luweibdeh or its physical growth Instead it is more an impressionistic work that aims at explaining the special character of Jabal al Luweibdeh as created by its urban fabric buildings people and activities It strives to capture through text and image the soul and spirit of this important district and I believe it has done a decent job of doing so We unfortunately have very limited information let along publications regarding the physical evolution of early modern Amman which came into being during the 1870s when a group of Circassians from the Caucasus settled in Amman after it had been deserted for a few centuries Modern Amman had expanded to reach what is now known as Jabal al Luweibdeh by the 1920s if not earlier Urban growth initially climbed the slope of Jabal al Luweibdeh that borders the downtown area From there specially between the 1940s to the 1960s Jabal al Luweibdeh expanded westward away from the slope of the hill towards flatter areas It emerged as an affluent part of Amman with elegant houses and apartment buildings and it also housed many of Amman s embassies Beginning in the 1970s the embassies began to move out of Jabal al Luweibdeh to the newer districts of Amman and only a couple of them now remain there Many of its affluent inhabitants also began to move out at that time but some have remained Although the socio economic mix of Jabal al Luweibdeh has changed it nonetheless has a healthy mix of inhabitants from different backgrounds Interestingly enough Jabal al Luweibdeh has emerged as the area in which a number of Amman s important art centers are located Darat al Funun House of Arts The Khalid Shoman Foundation was established during the early 1990 s in its older parts and is only at a walking distance from the downtown

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/amman-s-most-beautiful-district/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Amman Street Maps: A New Frontier » CSBE
    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 Amman Street Maps A New Frontier Amman Street Maps A New Frontier Urban Crossroads 18 A street map showing parts of Amman The Jordan Times The people of Amman generally do not use street maps When someone gives directions to a certain location it most probably will be along the following lines take the third right after the intersection of streets x and y then stay on that street until you come across a three story building with a large green gate to your right then take a left and move on until you get to grocery z The aversion to using street maps in Amman is not because such street maps do not exist A few maps in fact have been produced for the city or at least parts of it I know of one design firm that had produced decent maps in both Arabic and English that cover a good part of Amman and also incorporate street indices Unfortunately that firm stopped printing the maps because of limited demand Moreover very few people probably remember that a comprehensive numbering system was developed for the cities of Jordan back in the 1970s The system provided numbers for the cities districts streets and individual plots It was partially implemented but eventually discarded People in Amman do not even use street names except for the major streets of the city Instead they identify a street by some landmark usually not much more than a grocery store located along it Even for a number of major streets the official name is not always used but instead a name based on a well known landmark located along it One therefore needs to know both the official and unofficial names of many major streets I have noticed that a good number of people in Amman both educated and not so educated are not able to read street maps mainly because they have not made the effort to do so Maps are a most useful tools for getting around the city and make it easy to get to any point within it All you have to do is give someone a street name and number for a given place

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/amman-street-maps-a-new-frontier/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Soundscapes of Amman » CSBE
    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 Soundscapes of Amman Soundscapes of Amman Urban Crossroads 17 A professor of mine as a university student once made a very interesting remark about the manner in which people describe cities He noted that we emphasize visual descriptions of the city and suggested that we also should consider describing cities through senses other than sight as with examining the sounds or even smells of the city This is partly what I will attempt here to provide a description of Amman and its activities through its sounds i e describe its soundscapes Most would agree that there are pleasant natural sounds that we accept and even welcome the chirping of birds or the sound of leaves moving in the breeze There also are man made sounds that contribute to giving urban centers their cultural identity the call to the Muslim prayers the ringing of church bells or the chiming of a clock tower Beyond that the sounds of the city often become sources of annoyance or what is referred to as noise pollution This includes noises resulting from vehicular traffic engines roaring and horns honking or noises made by various types of machinery specially those used in construction In Amman we become most aware of the city s sounds during the summer when we open our windows and also spend more time outside on our balconies in our gardens or in the streets and spaces of the city Let me begin with the sounds of nature in Amman In the early 1990s my family moved to the house we currently occupy near the sixth circle I was very surprised then that I could not hear the chirping of birds in the morning That was because there weren t enough sizable trees to attract birds in what was then a newly built up part of Amman Fortunately this has changed and now there are enough sizable trees to bring in the birds Since birds fortunately rise earlier than most human beings the chirping of birds is the first thing we now hear in our neighborhood in the morning Unfortunately the auditory situation quickly deteriorates as the day proceeds The noises of traffic soon pick up Amman also may be described as a never ending construction site Ever since we moved to our house there always has been a

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/soundscapes-of-amman/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Airport Road » CSBE
    Egg 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 Airport Road Airport Road Urban Crossroads 16 The Queen Alia Airport Road Jumana Bississo Although airports serve to connect urban centers to distant locations they also play an important role in defining patterns of development within urban centers themselves Airports are relative newcomers in urban history Before them the railroad station was the primary gateway to the city The first railroad line appeared in England in the 1820s and railroad travel was introduced to our part of the world a few decades later in the 1850s when Cairo Alexandria and Suez were linked by railroad service Railroad service reached Amman during the initial years of the twentieth century with the construction of the Hijaz Railway which connected Damascus to Medina During the 1950s the airport began to take on the position of the major gateway to the city Although in many parts of the world airports and railway stations both serve as important points of departure and arrival for the city in our region the airport more often than not has eclipsed the railroad station In fact railways currently occupy a relatively minor role in transporting people within the countries of this part of the world let alone between them The airport and railroad station function very differently from each other in their relation to the city Airports need much more space than railroad stations and cause more noise Therefore in contrast

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/airport-road/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Parking in Amman: Privilege or Right » 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 Parking in Amman Privilege or Right Parking in Amman Privilege or Right Urban Crossroads 15 A stacked parking structure in New York City The Jordan Times Amman is a parking haven especially when it comes to street side parking You more or less can park in whichever way whenever and however you wish It is common in Amman to find vehicles parked next to no parking signs It is common to find vehicles along the same street parked parallel to the curb and at widely varying distances from it perpendicular to the curb and at just about any angle from the curb It even is common to find vehicles parked on the sidewalk parking in fact seems to be the main function of wide sidewalks in Amman Double parking also is widespread and in a few cases I even have seen vehicles parked in the middle of the street Shop owners also will go through extra efforts to make your life easier as a vehicle owner They will claim the side of the street facing their shop which as far as I know is public property as their own and place signs stating that these areas are reserved for the vehicles of their customers As a vehicle owner you probably will get a couple of parking tickets each year but that is a very small price to pay for the tremendous freedom you

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/parking-in-amman-privilege-or-right/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Time Zoning » CSBE
    s Creative Energies A New Amman for Better and for Worse Bottom Up Urban Development Urban Life and Rising Commodity Prices Urban Change Management and Resistance Architecture for the Rich Mere Shelter for the Poor Celebrating Water Wakalat Street Again The Amman Report Card Architecture Serving Humanity The Winning Projects of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture Managing Amman s Traffic Cairo A Ray of Hope To Tax or Not To Tax Amman s Empty Land Plots The Municipal Three Legged Stool To Kill the Goose that Lays the Golden Egg 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 Time Zoning Time Zoning Urban Crossroads 14 An exterior makeshift market area The Jordan Times A previous article of this series addressed the concept of zoning which involves specifying different areas of the city for different functions Time zoning is a modification of traditional zoning that allows different activities to take place in the same location but specifies the time of day or even year during which each of these activities may take place The more we are able to distribute various activities in a given location over the hours of the day or night the more we enable that location to accommodate these activities with higher levels of efficiency and ease For example staggering work hours for schools offices and shops helps relieve traffic congestion at peak traffic times i e when people go to and return from school or work

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/time-zoning/ (2016-02-13)
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