Creativity in using materials..
Superb functional solutions.. excuse the brick..
Sidewalk as storage
The art of disintegration
The words ‘high’ and ‘craftsmanship’ come to mind
An empty plot of land needs no side walk (patent pending)
Sculptutal composition in stone and asphalt..
Creative integration of flowerpots and other artefacts
Just off Jubilee Circle.. men at work..
Abdoun greets the shoppers..
Nature reclaims the street..
If there were a global contest for ‘The Worst Sidewalks in the World”, Amman would be a top contender. Our sidewalks are not just bad but utterly horrible. Mindless. Broken. Ugly. Dangerous. Even in the ‘affluent’ Abdoun district, you’ll find sidewalks that look as if an earthquake had just hit.
Think about this: we all know that Amman is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. But generally our urban infrastructure actually WORKS. Electricity works. Water works. Telephones work. Traffic lights work. Sewers work. But sidewalks? That ‘invention’ has not reached us yet. Our sidewalks are an insult to our city and its citizen’s. I just want you to look at some of the pictures I included again.
What is the ‘big secret’ about sidewalks that makes them impossible to achieve for Amman.
Please don’t tell me it’s a matter of budgets. Amman has enough money to enable it to build big bridges and intersections.
I say, let’s learn from Dubai. This is no rocket science. This does not require a ‘Amman Beautification Committee’. Modern sidewalk standards are available all over the world. In Dubai, just for example, the sidewalks are properly engineered. It is a matter of detailing, implementation , quality control and maintenance. It should be a matter of LAW.
Many of us (myself included) are concerned about the Dubai-ification of Amman. But in the areas of of urban engineering (I am not saying planning, as Dubai now has horrible traffic jams) we just need to adopt their mentality of: copy some global standard and paste them locally. Better still: the Municipality (or whoever is responsible for this) should just hire a stubborn English or German person and charge him or her with fixing this problem and training some dedicated, stubborn Jordanians to maintain the system.
Someone will say that the problem lief with the Amman citizen’s unwillingness to adhere to standards. That might be partially true. Ammanis still treat their city as a little village (despite that it has probably 2 million inhabitants right now). But when the government wants to impose something in Jordan it sure can muster the will. Just look at collection of Sales Tax for an example of political will to do something.
Amman is increasingly looking like a really backward 3rd world city, despite all the money being spent by the public and private sectors. Broken sidewalks, bumpy streets (even in the capital’s most posh districts by the way. At least there is some equality there!) unbelievably haphazard signage. Add that to the poor aesthetic visual culture of our merchants and the onslaught of global brands. Amman is drowning in a disgraceful state of ugliness.
Oh, here’s a picture from Dubai’s Gardens district.. Forget the sprinklers and the greenery, just look at that SIDEWALK!