August 25, 2007

Building what and why Amman?

I was wondering for the past few days about something I don't understand regarding the real estate construction boom in Amman and the future. I talked before about the effect of arts and architecture on shaping the identity of the societies in my previous post From an out of place architecture to an out of place identities. but my question is:"What and WHY?."

What kind of services will Amman have in these projects? Other than attracting real estate developers to build houses, offices, hotels and resorts. If we study the service and manufacturing industries and make a comparative advantage with other countries do we find any services that we might be better serve or produce?

Shouldn't we benchmark the services and products that we can produce here in Jordan to use our scarce resources of land and people that gives us more advantage and success over other countries in the region and the world?

What if manufacturing, which is not taking that much attention, is the sector that we need to focus on! or maybe farming! or fishing, no we don't have much sea here, or..or...

The investors that we are attracting are developers who are only interested in money by building and selling to other developers who will also sell to others. We thought that they will bring more jobs to our country but obviously they are outsourcing all their labors, materials, and operations from other resources in other countries.

Instead of bringing investors giving them all these incentives shouldn't we first give more incentives to the citizens, giving them jobs and supporting their businesses! How much we did to support the Local businesses? Will these investors participate in the development of our country? who have the power here: the citizens, the government, or the investors? I am afraid that we will end up being slaves working to foreign companies in our own country. Do we really want to build another little Dubai here? "that will be another subject to talk about: Why Dubai? "

The scarcity of resources in this country and the fierce competition in the emerging global markets requires from us to think million times about what shall we focus on?

Finally, we ask ourselves: are we building local and thinking global? or the other way.

4 comments:

ألاسمحاجّ said...

Look at it this way, investing for the future generation...sometimes it seemd far, and yet so near. Let's have faith in those statements. And I thought you'd find this interesting too.

mais said...

Well, middle eastern countries are mostly accustomed 2 consuming others ideas, products & whatever z sold out 2 us with an external "tag/stamp"...Yet don't u think that if what u wrote n the above note; that a total of 60 civil engineers and 1,200 workers are working on one project-the Jordan Gate - 70% of whom are Jordanians,,f this z true then this z a good sign compared 2 other cities like Dubai & Doha ; in which the total number of ppl working n construction projects & all related industries r non citizens ?? I guess the # of these imported workers may exceeds the number of the original citizens n these cities ,,, i mean n such places ppl have money but not the working force , & here we do import investors' money but still we have a better control over the work itself ,,, & yes foreign countries do have their share but @ least the ppl of the country r still firmly involved....& i'm not defending the external investments here but i'm trying 2 look @ the diff. faces of the issue...
What's else z that 7 years ago architects, civil engineers & others had no good job opportunities n the country & used 2 run out going 2 the Gulf looking 4 better living & better experiences , but now every thing has changed & we have 2 admit that this z clearly a product of the imported investment 2 the country ...Right?

Anonymous said...

mad, very interesting topic.
Although I'm not an Urban Planner, but I think it’s a need now to think of large scale planning and property development that serves human needs in balance with new values of sustained development and healthy environment, taking into account long term planning based on realistic projections of growth rates

Imagin the following picture of the city:
A strong community that lives the modern living style emphasizing at the same time the social nature of human beings, in the sense that everybody knows of each everybody, people take care of each other, efforts are put together for the prosperity of all

How to achieve that
1. Downtown & Commercial districts:
Composed of clusters of high rise buildings of mixed use, with proper road network & mass transportation system. Each cluster is composed from several high rise buildings and includes proper facilities (sports, recreational, schools, cultural center, shopping, police, civil defense, etc…).
It should be well planned so that the infrastructure & other facilities are sufficient. There should be a committee headed by an elected president. The committee will be looking after the community needs and development, creates all sorts of social activities and involves people in it.

2. suburbs:
Clusters of low rise flat buildings & houses of the same description as in above.

3. Agricultural & Forest areas:
These areas to be reserved and the expansion of the city should be towards the more arid areas. (Stop expending to the west and go to the east)

4. The Poor:
If we apply the Zakat system by low, try to minimize the feelings of selfishness and individualism, and set out planes to develop poor sector and involve these people in life after we develop them, the formula above could also work for this sector.

Thanks for your patience

Emad Salameh said...

Sorry it took me some time to reply to your post because what you wrote is so interesting.
I love it.

The problem is that you are describing a Utopian city. Many Utopian cities failed to achieve an urban development success.

However, if we took what you describe as a goal it will achieve better results than just having no plans at all.

Whats happening in Amman is a mess. Corruption, greed, and ignorance. We had huge development going on that will transfer the city into something ugly. This ugly is not only the architecture, it reflects on the culture, society, and the environment.

Over the past l2 years, we had an opportunity to do a lot of things. See what's happening now.

When we saw this first, shouldn't we sacrifice everything just to stop the destruction? If people here say Jordan First, talk about the love of the his country, shouldn't they say something? Why everybody is silent?

Zzzzz.... eishy be gal3et man...