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  • To Commute or Telecommute » CSBE
    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 To Commute or Telecommute To Commute or Telecommute Urban Crossroads 13 Much of the city s activities concentrate on the movement of people and goods People move and move things with them between various places including places of residence work education shopping recreation and culture Part of this movement is on foot but most of it is in vehicles private vehicles taxis and public transportation vehicles The more vehicles we have moving around the city the more pressure is placed on its streets leading to traffic congestion problems Although Amman generally does not suffer from the chronic traffic gridlocks characteristic of many cities in this region a good number of its streets clearly have to handle more traffic than they can comfortably accommodate Moreover traffic in Amman during summer evenings and nights often comes to standstill thus providing a glimpse of an unpleasant future we might have to face regarding the city s traffic situation Planning officials in Amman have addressed traffic congestion problems through a variety of methods These primarily have concentrated on widening roads as well as the ubiquitous construction of overpasses and underpasses to replace preexisting traffic light intersections Another approach is encouraging the use of public transportation vehicles over private ones The city of London for example recently put in place regulations that charge a toll on private vehicles each time they enter the inner zones of the city Although controversial this solution has had a positive effect in terms of easing traffic congestion in London One solution that is gaining ascendancy though very slowly is to encourage telecommuting over commuting A dictionary definition of telecommuting is the practice of working at home by using a modem and

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/to-commute-or-telecommute/ (2016-02-13)
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  • The Shopping Mall » CSBE
    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 Shopping Mall The Shopping Mall Urban Crossroads 12 Interior of a shopping mall The Jordan Times The shopping mall is taking over Amman Just visit Amman s newest mall during the afternoon or evening hours and you would think that most of the city s population has decided to congregate there During the 1990s it seemed that every grocery store in Amman announced itself as a supermarket Today it seems that every group of shops with an internal passageway announces itself as a shopping mall Clearly malls are the in thing in the city The design of the shopping mall is a very involved field with sophisticated standards that have been finessed over decades of experience The contemporary shopping mall is an American product that dates back approximately to the 1950s Mall designs include various features that aim at attracting shoppers getting them to move around the mall and keeping them in it for as long as possible For example the layouts of malls emphasize open uninterrupted visual vistas that allow shoppers to see a good part of the interior of the mall in a single view Also malls utilize special lights that provide a quality of lighting similar to daylight This way shoppers would not notice the sun setting down which subconsciously signals to them that they should return home In addition many mall designers prefer two story malls so that shoppers would cross the mall in one direction along one story and cross it in the other direction along the other story thus passing by all of the mall s shops Malls also incorporate prominent spaces with special attractions For example an early mall dating back to the 1950s had a large space that contained an enormous cage filled with brightly colored birds If you would like to know more about the history of the shopping mall read Malcolm Gladwell s article Annals of Commerce The Terrazzo Jungle in the March 15 2004 issue of The New Yorker magazine In Amman the shopping mall is a tremendous success and is effectively competing with and probably overtaking the street front shop This is the result of a number of factors One of them is that the mall brings a wide variety of shops as well as

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/the-shopping-mall/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Apartment Living » CSBE
    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 Apartment Living Apartment Living Urban Crossroads 11 An apartment building in Amman The Jordan Times Up to the 1970s it was very common for people in Amman to build freestanding one story single family houses Such houses most often would later be expanded vertically to reach two or three stories The owner of the house would build these additions for the use of his or her children usually sons for when they grow up and have their own families or to rent out as a source of additional income During the late 1970s the apartment building emerged as a more prominent residential building type in Amman By the 1990s it became the predominant building type In fact of the 2 18 million square meters of construction permits granted in Jordan during the first four months of this year 1 8 million square meters were for apartment buildings Current zoning regulations for apartment buildings allow the construction of four stories However if the building is located on a sloping site and a street borders the higher part of the site one may have as many stories as the slope allows The only requirement is that the building does not include more than four stories along its higher part The construction of apartment buildings is allowed in most parts of Amman and is prohibited only in a very limited number of areas in the city Not surprisingly land values in such areas are prohibitively high Simple economics therefore have resulted in the apartment building taking over the city Meanwhile the single family structure now has become beyond the reach of the vast majority of Amman s residents including many well off ones This is a clear reversal of the situation that existed about thirty years ago The impact of the spread of the apartment building has been tremendous on Amman It definitely has raised the density of habitation in the city The typical four story apartment building which usually includes two apartments on each floor will have about eight families inhabiting it Of course there are the more luxurious apartment buildings with one apartment per floor but there also are apartment buildings that have additional living units because of their location on a sloping site Many apartment occupants especially in western Amman have cars and the construction of each additional apartment building puts further pressure on the movement of traffic in adjacent streets and on the availability of parking spaces Also important is that with the exception of ground floor apartments the inhabitants of apartment buildings do not have access to gardens At the same time apartment buildings in Amman are too small to support communal open recreational spaces The problem is exasperated by the fact that Amman still suffers from a shortage of public neighborhood parks The social dimension

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/apartment-living/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Sidewalks of Amman » 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 Sidewalks of Amman Sidewalks of Amman Urban Crossroads 10 A dysfunctional sidewalk in Amman Lina As ad To state that Amman is a pedestrian unfriendly city is nothing new A number of its streets do not have sidewalks When sidewalks exist they often lack continuity from one plot to the other their heights from the street pavement vary considerably and trees with low branches often are planted in their center It also is not unusual for streets to be widened in a manner that eats up parts of the adjacent sidewalks Crossing a number of Amman s busy streets is a nerve wrecking and life threatening experience The conversion of numerous traffic light intersections into underpasses and overpasses has made life even more difficult for pedestrians The preexisting traffic lights at least provided locations where vehicles would stop and pedestrians would be able to cross the street Pedestrian bridges are being set up in some locations but they are too few and far in between Take Zahran Street for example one of Amman s main arteries which extends westward from the older 1950s parts of the city all the way to its newer extensions in the Wadi al Seer area The street s eight kilometer stretch from the second circle where it is still al Kulliyyah al Ilmiyyah al Islamiyyah Street to the eighth circle includes only four locations where pedestrians may cross it with a minimal level of safety These are the fourth circle traffic lights and three pedestrian bridges one located between the Fifth and Sixth Circles and two located between the Sixth and Seventh Circles With the exception of parts of downtown Amman where continuous functioning sidewalks are available most of Amman is the undisputed realm of the automobile Even in issues of maintenance priority is given to the street over the sidewalk When a street in Amman is dug up for infrastructure repairs it usually is fixed up relatively quickly However when a sidewalk is dug up it will be quite some time before it is fixed up assuming it ever is The only exception to this neglect of sidewalks is the mystifying obsessive painting of sidewalk curbs

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/sidewalks-of-amman/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Riyadh » CSBE
    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 Riyadh Riyadh Urban Crossroads 9 Riyadh s most recently constructed high rise buildings The Kingdom Center in the foreground and Al Faysaliyya in the background Mohammad al Asad Our region is one of tremendous urban diversity A recent first time visit to Riyadh further confirmed this view Clearly a single short visit to a city provides a very selective impression of it and there is much more to Riyadh than what is provided in the following lines Riyadh the capital of Saudi Arabia is a large city It has a population of almost 5 million people Like Amman it was only a small town of a few thousand inhabitants during the early twentieth century but has grown at a spectacular rate since then specially during the past three decades Even today Riyadh is growing at a rate of 8 10 a year which is considerably higher than Saudi Arabia s natural growth rate of about 3 5 a year Saudi Arabia is unique in the Arab East in that it does not have a dominant urban center but includes a number of sizable vibrant cities such as Jeddah Mecca Medina and Dammam Still Riyadh is growing at a faster rate than these other urban centers and has greatly surpassed them in size Planners in Saudi Arabia are concerned about the city s fast growth and consider it neither healthy for Riyadh nor for the country as a whole Officials at the Saudi Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs consequently have developed a strategy that encourages growth in the other cities of the country They therefore coordinate policies with various governmental organizations to encourage new institutions and economic projects such as universities or industrial estates to locate in cities other than Riyadh specially in cities that may benefit from additional growth Riyadh is an automobile

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/riyadh/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Property Rental Laws » CSBE
    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 Property Rental Laws Property Rental Laws Urban Crossroads 8 The legal environment regulating the ownership sale and rental of real estate properties plays a very important role in defining the character of the city This clearly is evident upon examining the evolution of the law governing the rental of real estate properties in Jordan The law has been a subject of considerable contention as evident in the passionate articles that regularly appear about it in the local press The law governing the rental of real estate properties was modified in 2000 Before that the tenant basically could continue renting a property indefinitely and at the same initial rent irrespective of the terms of the rental contract The government did have the authority to stipulate rent increases but only did so on a couple of occasions The owner would never be able to terminate the lease as long as the tenant paid the rent However the tenant always held the right to vacate the property at the end of a given year if he or she wished to do so The rights of the tenant were extensive and in many cases the tenant even could pass on the rental agreement to his or her inheritors As a result the renting of real estate properties was not a particularly rewarding investment in Jordan since the value of the initial rent would be eaten up by inflation year after year and the owner would end up getting a very poor return

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/property-rental-laws/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Beirut » CSBE
    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 Beirut Beirut Urban Crossroads 7 Aerial view of the Beirut Central Business District Solidere I recently had the opportunity to visit Beirut It was my fourth visit to the city which I first saw about thirty years ago Although I have had the chance to see it at various stages of its recent development my impressions of it remain those of a visitor rather than a resident Those of us born before the early 1960s recall Beirut as a great cosmopolitan center that connected East and West It was a city where Arabs Westerners and others all could feel at home but also get to experience the other It was a center of commerce finance culture and tourism Unfortunately the Lebanese civil war which extended from 1975 to 1990 greatly undermined the city s stature During the decade and a half that have passed since the end of the war however Beirut has undergone a massive reconstruction effort that has aimed at regaining some of the centrality within the region it previously enjoyed This is neither a simple nor an easy task to accomplish since the region has changed considerably on the economic political and cultural levels since the heyday of Beirut during the 1950s and 1960s Also a number of cities in the region ranging from Dubai to Amman in their own ways have filled a good part of the vacuum resulting from Beirut s marginalization during the war A great deal nonetheless has been achieved in Beirut during the postwar period specially in terms of modernizing its infrastructure and upgrading various components of its service sector Beirut today is a vibrant and lively city that leaves numerous powerful impressions on its visitors both positive and negative Its driving and parking habits are even more chaotic than Amman s something

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/publications-and-resources/urban-crossroads/beirut/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Public Transportation » 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 Public Transportation Public Transportation Urban Crossroads 6 A street in Amman seen from inside a taxi car The Jordan Times A city is as good as its public transportation system A good public transportation system is one that covers as much of the city as possible It is one for which stops along routes are regular and frequent and for which routes and their schedules are easy to understand by users Of course a public transportation system also should be clean and safe An effective public transportation system provides the inhabitants of the city with access to its various areas It allows access for people who cannot drive those known as the transportation disadvantaged the under aged the elderly those who cannot afford a car or taxi those with physical impairments There also are people who simply prefer not to drive Public transportation provides all of them with mobility which they otherwise would not have mobility to reach places of employment education culture and recreation Public transportation is a far more cost effective and efficient way of moving people than the private automobile The next time you stop at a traffic light count the number of people in each of the passing vehicles You will notice that the majority of cars have only one person inside them the driver A good sized bus on the other hand can accommodate over 50 people and in many cases has all of its seats occupied The more people use public transportation rather than private automobiles the less traffic congestion and air pollution we would have Public transportation provides a healthy way of interacting with the city in contrast to the automobile The automobile transforms the city into isolated points of use Those in a car move between places of residence work shopping or

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