Promoting Urban Regeneration through Community Interventions, with a Focus on Tourism Development and Urban Green Space in Amman

Client : Greater Amman Municipality (GAM)

Location : Amman- Jordan

Year : 2021

The “Heart of Amman” Program
A large number of refugees and vulnerable communities settled and live in downtown Amman. Services in the downtown area are overstretched and living space is overburdened. In addition, the planning of public and green spaces and cultural revitalization was not prioritized due to rapid urbanization and population growth rate, as well as more urgent priorities such as the containment of the negative impacts of COVID-19.
In this context, UNDP launched “Heart of Amman” programme in July 2019 to support in decreasing urban and green space inequalities through urban revitalization, increasing socio-economic resilience, and sustainable livelihoods, particularly among vulnerable communities in downtown Amman.
This programme highlights the importance of protection and preservation of cultural heritage sites and provides opportunities for the residents in developing their own community initiatives, with a strong focus on beautifying neighborhoods and urban communities in the downtown area. Partnering with the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM), UNDP has been encouraging young men and women to lead the community interventions and be part of the decision-making process on neighborhood improvement. Therefore, the “Heart of Amman” programme is envisaged to improve social cohesion and the sense of belonging of vulnerable Amman residents, as well as encourage them to have a stronger sense of community responsibility by protecting cultural legacy and revitalizing the areas in downtown Amman. As part of the third phase of the “Heart of Amman” programme, UNDP aims at revitalizing areas and creating economic opportunities along the Hejaz Railway corridor.

Conceptual Narratives

Site 1: Amman Hejaz Railroad Station
Promotion of Heritage Tourism & Community Involvement in the Heritage Tourism Industry

 

Site2:  4a Near King Abdallah Stadium
Provision of an Inclusive Social Public Space for Different Age Groups and Enhancement of Socio-Economic Opportunities

 

Site 3: Al Qaser Umm Al Hiran Station
Enhancement of Socio-Economic Opportunities through Urban Agriculture Initiatives

 

Site 4: Jiza Station

​Promotion Heritage Tourism & Community Involvement in the Heritage Tourism Industry, and Provision of Public Inclusive Social Space for the Jiza Community and for Visitors

 

In general, there are several objectives / design ideas / public communities needs / or constrains that are preferably to be present in all of the sites (when possible). The following is a discussion of these constants (Thawabet)

  • Low Budget

The overall budget for the whole Project for implementation is around 150 thousand US Dollars. After narrowing
down the site for implementation from 9 to 5, this means that on an average, each site would receive around 30 thousand US Dollars, of course some might receive more or less. Therefore, design ideas have to take into consideration a low budget intervention.

  • Implementation by Community: this is a community-based project

Implementation of most of the ideas and interventions (around 70% of the interventions) would be implemented by local communities with the help of a supporting agency.

  • Public Space (Social Inclusive Public Space)

As much general it is a common objective. might be more evident in one of the site more than others, but in communities associated with these sites. This level of intervention provision or enhancement of public social space for the various local as possible, the different levels of intervention would prioritize

  • Greening Public Space (Increasing Green Cover)

Increasing the green cover within the city of Amman is a general objective. Within these sites along the Hejaz Railway Line, it is also a priority, since such green cover (e.g., in the form of trees or other) and in addition to its environmental value could also contribute to the creation of social public spaces as well.

  • The Hejaz Passenger’s Cart (Opportunities for Local Community)

Creating opportunities to enhance vulnerable communities’ socio-economic conditions is a priority, and it is crucial in several of the sites eventually chosen. These opportunities are concerned with the adaptation of abandoned Hejaz passengers’ carts that could be used for community-based activities. For example, they could be used for selling items related to the historic significance of these sites to tourists, or also selling other items within the community or to visitors as well such as food related items or refreshments. Or such opportunities might center on promoting perma-culture and agricultural products.

  • A Multi-Functional / Low Budget Installation

In relation to the enhancement of social public space, and also in relation to the adaptation of the abandoned passenger’s carts, we are developing an multi-functional low budget installation that could serve as an anchor for social community activities in each of the locations. So, in certain sites it could be directed more to hosting children’s play area and family seating, in other sites it could be directed more to public seating and tables for display of goods (local community products) for sale, and so on.

  • Showcasing Significance Heritage & Cultural Value of Sites

The heritage and tourism potentials are extremely evident in some of the Sites such as mainly Amman Station and Jiza Station, and to some extend Qaser Station as well. Celebrating these sites and enhancing their tourism potential is extremely a priority that would eventually not only promote heritage tourism but also benefit their respective communities.

  • Branding & Promotion

Even though we are talking about intervention in 5 sites, but in general, this is one project where branding this project becomes extremely significant for several reasons: promotion of heritage tourism, benefiting communities, and providing some sort of a link that connects these initiatives together. Elements of the branding could include but are not limited to: reuse of the Hejaz passengers’ carts, provision of public spaces, interpretation of historic sites, other. Promotion is also a priority to make this initiative successful.

  • Environmental Consideration:

Maintaining a certain level  participate in such issues of public space management and security bins, encourage different local community programs that address and could be achieved through provision of adequate trash bins/recycling of public space hygiene and management is a major objective. 

  • Improve Security and Sense of Community

Community ownership (metaphorically) of these projects and places is a must for their future sustainability and success. This will lead to increasing and improving levels of security. These two objectives are a priority in each of the Sites.​