Photos Of A Futuristic Amman | Part II

The GAM launched the second phase of its master plan, calling it the “Corridor Intensification Strategy”. Essentially it focuses on 10 major streets in Jordan that are being targeted for development. Zahran street, running between the 1st and 8th circle, seems to be the center of attention; with the corridor between the 5th and 8th circle being called the Ammani Boulevard (of broken dreams). Arar street as well as the Airport road are also receiving a bulk of the attention in this plan. What is interesting to note about the designs is the fact that none of them are skyscrapers but rather low rise buildings that are a mix of residential and commercial, making room for green spaces while introducing a lot of the traditional Ammani architectural influences. But I’m not an architect, so what do I know other than it looks shiny and pretty.

Also interesting to note about the second phase is the push for a metro system in Amman to enhance public transportation, which in my opinion is at the root of all city life woes and will continue to be with Amman’s population expected to reach 6 million by 2025.

Here’s a visual look at some of the plans based on the Mayor’s presentation.

Zahran Street (before):

Zahran Street (after):

Zahran Street | Amman Boulevard (5th and 8th circle):

Arar Street (before):

Arar Street (after):

Arar Street (development area):

A series of community meetings will be held in the next few weeks to allow the public to discuss these plans and give their two piasters.

Location: King Hussein Cultural Center

Time: 5-8pm

Date & Topic:
June 24: Zahran
June 26: Mecca
July 1: Queen Rania & Queen Alia
July 2: Prince Shaker Bin Zaid, Hussein Bin Ali
July 8: Arar, Kindi
July 10: Abdullah Ghosheh & Airport Road
July 15: King Abdullah II
July 17: Airport Corridor Concept Plan

Photos of a Futuristic Amman | Part I


  • I have been reviewing the new strategy all yesterday, I feel very positively about it.Of course, a solution to the transportation problem would have a huge impact on Amman, so hope it does happen real soon.
    I have actually been anticpating such a huge change in Arar Street for years now, and I think it will turn out to be quite an impressive area in the next few years.Zahran street, will at last get the attention it deserves as Amman’s old spine, and hopefully become more than just a road but a lively center too.
    I am not sure why they are trying to encourage multiple use of lands though, I know it is common practice everywhere, but there’s also a nice feel to buildings that are limited to either residential or commercial use, I would like to know the reasoning behind this , since in a way, I feel it’s not a feasible system in our community.
    I know there will be a lot of protests as to how come west Amman gets all this much out of the municipality’s budget, and a lot of protests about the amounts of money that will be spent in order to achieve and maintain this clean modern look, especially with the amounts of landscaping that are shown in their drawings in our current water situation, but I guess this is the case in most modern cities, there is always a part or district that is polished more than the others to work as a facade for the whole city, as unjust as this sounds to the rest of the districts, I believe it does have a big impact on how outsiders see the city, thus improving its business status, and bringing in more investments and tourism. I’m pretty excited about this, I hope it does materilize properly. One thing though, how come amman’s streets are in such a bad state currently?I haven’t seen them this way for at least 15 years.

  • Wow…. welcome to the Mall of Amman!

    Uniformity: check
    Bland, uninspiring corporate architecure: check
    Commerical emphasis: check
    Centralised wealth: check
    Private exploitation of public land: check

    Public good: who f***ing cares.

    Yep, this is the future of Amman: citizens are consumers, communities now business centres and the poor and under-educated can just f*** off and stop spoiling our Dubai-lite dream of soulless enterpise and shopping-based entertainment.

    Here’s an idea…. why don’t we build better public schools, motivate teachers and develop community centres?

    Ah, that’s right, no one can couldn’t make a load of cash out of those.


  • That’s all nice but I’ve noticed alot of “Green” in the future photos..does this mean we’re FINALLY gonna have The Amazon run through Amman..or are we bringing over Gaddafi to dig us a Grand Artificial River?

  • It seems that any proposals by the municipality (or whomever they hired) to develope the city are going to be bland, uninspiring and utterly conventional. It is a well known fact that the city’s urban situation is in need of a giant miracle. (Has anyone tried walking lately?)
    Our city will only get good when the municipality is ready to employ TALENTED locals to think of inventive resolutions with a strong social agenda. Its so depressing that this kind of talent doesn’t exist in the whole of the Jordan at the moment. (they’ve all given up and are building villa’s in Abdoun! haha)

  • I like the fact that they aren’t high rises. I never liked aluminum/glass high-rises anyway.

    I don’t understand what’s your problem lowfields. If you expect change to happen overnight, then you are obviously wrong. True, this is all just one big marketing plan to start selling off huge chunks to mega investors from abroad. But here’s a thought: such construction plans will need to hire local workers to implement this. So Abu Ali the carpenter will benefit, Hasanein, the construction worker will get paid and Abd el Mouti the electrician will also get off his ass and get to work. Think of that for a second.

    You can spin this to whatever you way you want, and it just depends on how jaded in life you are, that reflects your attitude towards these projects. So the GAM now will lease out land and make huge profits. Next it will need to build public parks to go with the area, and next it will need to build a community center so that the kids that go to the public park do not get in trouble, and then the GAM starts cooperating with the Ministry of Education in order to utilize the energy of the kids that go to the community center. This is what an industry is called. It’s a big cycle, and once you have the main building blocks, you take that good thing, and you start building around it.

    Stop living in your cynical shell, it’s obvious that cynicism has been supreme in Jordan since forever, why not just for a change, change that. How could you possibly expect others to change, when you’re still stuck in the same loop?

    And just for the record, this is very different from Dubai. Dubai started off by just giving construction permits left, right and center, while we all know that all of their real estate projects are owned by five people. The GAM on the other hand, is developing a 25-year plan, regulating the zones of Amman, and setting guidelines for investors, and then attracts them to invest in the country. The old way of “buying a piece of land, and then forgetting about it, so my grandchildren will all fight over it when I die” obviously didn’t work. But this has bigger potential.

  • The pictures look good, but I share Ammar’s worry about how realistic they are. Try to take these pictures and get rid of maybe 75% of the green that you see in them, and maybe you’ll end up with a more realistic vision.

    It’s good that there’s more emphasis on urban planning coz I don’t think there was much of it before.

  • So Abu Ali the carpenter, Hasanein the construction worker, and Abd el Mouti the electrician Are all Egyptian, plus through a few Indians and Bagladis that are getting paid by a foreign investor, So your point was…

    @shireen talanted people are driven either out of frustration or money.
    which gives everyone the right to be a cynic, we have not been given a reason to change.

  • I agree, they paint bright pictures with lots of colors like we are watching barney or to be more close to our region “farfour”..
    I don’t know who is the audience but it seems they are having this seminar at the new children musuem..

    There is a jordanian saying which says”Elli gabba3 gabba3 welli rabba3 rabba3″, I think we are lare 50 years regarding the issue of “oraginizing” our cities, we tend to organize after people inhabit an area not before..Anyway I think that maani after his fiasco in appointing the son of a minister for 2500 JDs is trying to polish his picture..

    I think jordan should focus on strategic issues which include the GOD DAMN water thing and energy, And I think it is the GOD damn time that we pull the disi water and stop the corruption of the the huge farm owners in the disi area who by the way include previous prime minister who pays nothing for using the disi water..

  • I can’t believe how much negativity we carry in this country! This is a good plan to develop areas in our beloved city. As Pheras said, we all can benefit out of it!

    I can’t wait to see things on the ground! For the first time the GAM is doing something good for us, and we, as usual, are moaning!

  • So Bambam, I get it that Jordanians should wait, until the upper class of Jordanians start investing in their own country, rather than transferring their accounts to the Cayman Islands? I don’t think that’s foreseeable in the near future. At least these projects force money to exchange hands, when it leaves the accounts of upper class, and moves to the working class. It;s better than freezing the money in those upper class accounts forever!

    Mohanned, you think that Jordan should focus on energy and resource issues, and that’s happening, it’s just that you’re not looking hard enough. We’re investing in wind mills and nuclear energy in order to stop relying on importing oil. I’m not trying to say that all is well and everything is perfect. But I’m just saying that this plan is a good step, while everybody is attacking it. La 3oumro 7adan ishtaghelkoum shou nikdin!

  • upper class will never invest heavily true, but if that money is exchanging hands as you suggest then i wouldn’t argue, it isn’t all its doing is inflating the market since the deficit is only increasing this way. now if they force a local partner then that would be better, if they force that the builder and employees be local then that would be different, but essentially everything is foreign in those investments so keep enjoying the view from far far away as they drive the middle class out of Amman

  • As Pheras said, we all can benefit out of it!

    I’m not sure everyone will agree. For example, what do you think Talal Abu Ghazaleh is thinking right now? Do you believe he thinks he’s going to benefit from Al Abdali project where all his properties are and just today the GAM informed him that the government has approved its request to take ownership of his properties, which it then is expected to sell to the Abdali company.

    According to a financial study that Abu Ghazaleh posted on the web site, the damages and costs that resulted from the GAM’s decision back in 2005 to suspend all development on the pieces of land that he owns amounted to JD 67 million!! in the same report, the value of the Abu Ghazaleh properties if he wished to sell them today is JD 43 million!!

    If the Amaneh doesn’t provide adequate compensation to Abu Ghazaleh for the costs and damages in the last 2 years and for the price of his properties, then we really can’t say that “all” will benefit from this. And he’s not the only one in that situation.

    It’s just something to think about and I bring it out because the most recent development happened today, and that was the government’s decision to approve the GAM request to take ownership.

  • Actually ya Hamza, Tala Abo Ghazalaeh is a different case than what we argue here. I am not with with what the GAM did in terms of this case which is kind of injustice as I see it, but the over-all plan of developing Amman city is a good one which would bring money to the city and help enhancing it. I guess we can’t say ALL as everyone, but maybe ALL as of a lot of people would benefit out of it.

  • Hamzeh, TAGF is one company that is losing ground due to the Abdali project. Ok, so the “We can all benefit” statement was more of a blanket one. But what other alternative do you suggest? If you don’t like the projects, then suggest a viable alternative at least. Be proactive about it, rather than just blandly negative. It’s a better idea than leaving room for random buildings to pop up, and have yet another Gardens Street. Sorry, but that I, nor anyone else I suppose anyone, would fancy.

    Bambam, true, such construction works inflate land price, because there is no regulation on land price. Had the GAM set up an independent regulatory commission, similar to the TRC (Telecommunications Regulatory Commission), and have a price ceiling for each area so that land prices do not reach London rates, that would curb inflation. I don’t see why should a local partner be forced to partner up with. Let’s be realistic here: To get a permit, you need a wasta. To get a wasta, you need a well-known Jordanian who would fence over the red tape. So there, you have your local partner.

    As for the contractor and the employees, yes, mostly, they are Jordanians. But it’s the Jordanians that do not want to become construction workers, but the electricians (which are assigned to an ENGINEER, and not an Egyptian worker, by the way), are all done by Jordanians. Before I am accused of dropping names; I know the engineering office that did the works for all of the hotels (involving infrastructure, electricity and water works). Even the paint jobs are commissioned to Jordanian dealers. So yes, it does give the local economy a breath of fresh air.

    The middle class people you are talking about (the ones that are slipping to become lower middle class individuals), are virtually, the ones that do not own a business, or do not own a piece of land. They are the corporate slaves, that did not inherit a business or land, those are the people you are talking about. But own a house in Jabal el Joufeh, and you are literally a millionaire! Even if you charge tenants JD30 per month, the house you have in that area is worth over a million JDs, just because commercial buildings in heavily populated areas generate more foot traffic, and more income. So really, I personally believe that if you just own something in Jordan, you are rich. However, if you want to cling on to what you have, and leave it for your grandchildren to fight over, that’s a different case.

  • Back to TAGIP. Yes, I agree, what’s happening there is quite a shame. But call me stubborn, I am sure some sort of compensation was on offer. The Quds College campus was transferred to Airport Road, and they got two franchises for new institutions and a lavish campus. Where did all of that money suddenly come from? Al Quds used to advertise in Al Waseet, and never bought a full page in one of the dailies to advertise, and now they can afford all of this? So I am sure there was some sort of compensation involved. I’m not taking sides here, but why wasn’t all of this publicized before Abdali started development? Why was it publicized only four months ago? And why did the company quickly started a new building only recently? To build, they need a permit, no? So would they get the permit, when the Abdali started development? This means that they had the permit before Abdali was put to work, they suspended their work during negotiations with Abdali, and when they didn’t like the price, working on constructing the building was resumed. But that’s one of many logical explanations. Just for the record, the above was all a personal observation. If anybody has further information, enlighten me!

  • So Pheras do you believe that the so called “Abdali project” will add any benifit to jordan? It is just commercial and reseidential investment which will only benifit the egyptian workers, some contractors and mainly hariri group.Will it provide viable permenant jobs for jordanians?What will happen after the construction is done? Are there any R&D envolved?

    I would like to break some news, in the next 3-5 years the textile “industry” will vanish from jordan..But I am not worried you know why? Because 70% of the workers are not jordanians, those projects and such don’t add any value to the real economy, unless you manufacture and produce from your own resources the country will not benefit..Sadly we have tons and tons of resources-like uranium, phosphate, potesh, dead sea, cooper, gold, Disi, jordan valley, Oil Or sa7’er zeti who by the way we own the third largest stockpile in the world- but there is no political will to push for investments in those areas, and again we have been hearing the same tape about investing in human resources with nothing done.

    I drifted away from the main subject, but this is the whole point, by galmourous pictures they turn our eyes away from the real problems..

    No manufacturing–>No security

  • Pheras and Observer, I certainly didn’t mean to sound negative, that’s why that last thing I said in my first comment was that it’s actually good that they are at least making plans, and I reiterate that thought.

    But I’m a realist at heart, and when I see pictures like the above I think of people who will really believe that that’s what those streets are gonna look like, and then when reality comes, they get disappointed. This is why I say what I say; because I want people to lower their expectations a little bit, be prepared to see something different than what they see in the pictures, and to also realize that we don’t jump from where we are today, to something similar to those plans between day and night, and that we’re not only building new things, we are replacing old buildings and that comes with a heave cost of intricate dealings with the current owners.

    So I love the fact that they are making plans, and they have to be given credit for that, but the two points I think we need to keep in the back of our minds as we implement and support these plans are: a little bit of realistic setting of expectations is needed, and good care needs to be taken when it comes to compensating people who are already in those areas.

  • middle class own property ? private businesses ? really ? lower class composed of engineers ?
    now am not trying to be sarcastic (maybe a bit) but its not that am negative about this specific plan (actually am happy that its in zahran and not in one of west amman’s spots its about time)
    remember a post here about where your money is goin ? thats what am pointing to, if you worked here for about 5 years you can truly tell the magnitude of the damage being done. the people owning the most property are either the upper upper class, or foreigners since who ever did have a land to sell probably already did. corporations are not helping any private business, and alot of small business closed just because they can’t compete and are not protected. am not talking about the falafel and fool places no, am talking about 7 major factories that were either acquired due to debt and stuborness of a ceratin arab bank or they just couldn’t compete with gulf products so they sold them to them. do you know what happened to the majority of the “jordanian” work force there ? they got laid off and got replaced by south asians. notice how we are starting to see them as cashiers and in other occupations ? now unlike the gulf our citizens are not compensated for the job opportunities lost.

    We are literary going after the bubble economy, a model so wonderfully done by the US, if you want to see the future of our RE market in 10 years if we stay the course take a look at some numbers of the market their, especially look at foreclosure numbers.

    That and also the consumerism that is eating up the people’s wages, now seriously how many can afford what the way they live ? we are a very debt ridding society so sooner or later if anything happens to the income flow and it suddenly halts (which it might if we can’t find us another bubble soon, which is playing out to be tourism) you will have a wage slave homeless society.

    ok ok a very grim extreme view but it looks pretty reasonable looking at how the 30% unemployed in jordan are fairing so far (if it was really creating jobs as u claim then you would have expected that to decrease over the last 5 years it didn’t, its steadily increasing)

    ENJOY !

Your Two Piasters: