The Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) will advance with a plan to build a city to the east of Amman this year, a step meant to ease pressure off the western and northern parts of the capital.
New Amman is a 150sq.km town that will be built to the east of the Ring Road during three phases, starting with the nucleus of the project Ã¢?? an urban centre called Labour City.
Mayor of Amman Nidal Hadid said that 70 per cent of the area, which extends between the eastern edge of Amman and the west border of Zarqa, has been zoned and GAM already planted a million trees in the area.
Real estate experts said that over the past two years, land prices in the area increased in anticipation of the city’s construction.
The mayor added that the project is the outcome of studies that GAM planners and engineers conducted to find alternatives to Amman’s expansion over the farming lands to the west and north of the capital, especially in light of the fast expansion of the city’s population.
For political and demographic reasons, Amman is considered one of the fastest growing cities in the world. In 1909, the city was built on 3sq.km and had 3,000 inhabitants. In 1987, when the first master plan was drawn up for the capital and after two waves of Palestinian-forced migration to the Kingdom, the city’s population swelled to 1 million living on an area of 527sq.km.
Today, 2 million people live in the capital, whose area expanded to 688sq.km.
Hadid said that there are 100sq.km of green areas remaining in Amman and one way to protect these is to encourage people to move east. [article]
How do you build a city? Do you give tax incentives for people to build there? Do you start building yourself? Build empty roads like a monopoly board and wait for people to buy them up?
And who will live there? Remember, Zarqa is not in the greatest economic condition so Ã¢??New AmmanÃ¢?Â will not necessarily mean Ã¢??Better AmmanÃ¢?Â, in all probability it will be the Ã¢??Other AmmanÃ¢?Â i.e. an extension of East Amman, you know, to accommodate all the poor people.
The number of inhabitants ARE increasing in Amman, partly due to the war on Iraq. So most of these people are Iraqis. Though Iraqis will not live in Ã¢??New AmmanÃ¢?Â, theyÃ¢??ll cling to West Amman. Our increase in population is based on wealthy immigrants.
The expansion should be to the west and not the east. The closer you draw to Zarqa the worse off it is for both Amman and Zarqa. An almost merging of the two will result in greater congestion of traffic and people. Whereas the areas south and west of West Amman are relatively spacious and allow a greater deal of planning. And of course right now thereÃ¢??s a lot of pressure on the west, but thatÃ¢??s beacuse no one is moving out beyond the border, everyone is building on what small pieces of land are left between one building and the next.
Planning is the key issue here. IÃ¢??m willing to be that New Amman will have the same simple engineering mistakes of Old Amman. Same roads and sidewalks, or lack thereof.
The idea of iskanat, or the planned neighborhoods such as the one being built in Marj il Hamam are preferable in my opinion. You get a bunch of investors; they lay down the plans for a beautiful area to be built complete with all the facilities from schools and pools to roads and sidewalks. But when you delegate this kind of task to the public sector you will get massive failure and a bad result. New plans with old ideas mixed with old bad habits featuring corruption and lack of resources.
50 years from now we wonÃ¢??t be dealing with a new and better Amman, simply a much larger East Amman.
Personally I would rather seem them invest the money in:
a) Fixing up Amman as it is, specifically East Amman where many of its inhabitants can hardly earn a living
b) Plant more trees in specific areas and protect them. Do not plant little saplings that will die in 2 weeks. Do not waste money on buying trees that require a lot of water.
And if you have the resources to build a new city then go out into the desert and build one. Like Las Vegas. Stop building on good soil when thereÃ¢??s plenty of sand and rocks to clear.