November 30, 2007

More NGOs or more money makers

Regional organizations maps, map by Aris Katsaris

With our limited resource in Jordan, funds to support projects for development by humanitarian aids can be supported by the regional and World NGOs. The majority of our citizens don't live in Towers, and gated communities they are living in poverty and they need support, and humanitarian aid. We market for Jordan to investors showing proposals of High Rise buildings, Malls, hotels, and compounds, instead of marketing for the world NGOs (non governmental organizations). These real estate investments will give it's benefits to the rich real estate brokers "developers" in Jordan expanding the gap of the rich and poor.
We need to reach more NGOs to invest in Jordan, by showing the areas that needs development and not showing High rises investments that will only bring to us business men and will push the NGOs away. We need to market for building Factories, and Farms, marketing for getting more Jobs to the country.

Abdali Project, photo by: Emad Salameh
In Russia, they have 400,000 NGOS, and in India estimated to have between: 1 to 2 million.
How many NGOs do we have in Jordan? Please send me the list if you have it.

More Abdali high rise buildings and more money

The New Abdali Model, photo by: Emad Salameh

Abdali project came as a project to lead the transformation of the New Ammaan. It introduced some high rise buildings in the heart of Amman. The location of the project was criticized by many consultants due to it's location and size, and how it's transforming Amman besides problems in traffic and congesstions.
The model shows more high rise buildings being added to the project. There are many surprises that's shapping our city Amman and it's future.
Is everything being already planned and bought?
I see the motive behind these new high rises is to gain more money since the price of the land with a high rise have more value than without. The new expansion strategy of Amman came to regulate the location of high rise buildings in Amman especially after seeing Jordan gate at the 6th circle, but, I have doubts now that the new planning strategy were targeted to our citizens and not to the foreign investors who can buy and build anything, anywhere.
Is that true? I hope not
The new expansion strategy did not help us in re-imagining the Amman. It was just a proposal for the real estate brokers in this country to buy more lands and get richer.
If we need to develop Amman we need to start from what's already been done, fix it, make it more livable before we expand.
Related Posts:

Introducing the new Downtown Amman

New Downtown Amman, Photo by: Emad Salameh

This is the model of the new Downtown Amman, presented at Cityscape Dubai 2007 by Mawared. The project is loated between the downtown Roman theater toward east covering Raghadan area and beyond.

This project was described by the GAM consultant Mr. Jaime "a sustainable city advocate", who presented his experience to GAM early this month as a "Great Project" during his speach about sustainability.

If this model was only for presentation, it was a bad propaganda for Amman, it's history, present, and future. This design proposal, and it's model presentation didn't meet the standrads of projects being presented to the world of investors, and developers at one of the most important real estate expo, Cityscape.

A disaster! We have great consultants architects and planners in Jordan who are qualified up to the international standards to design, and plan the city, but, when it comes to the most important decisions and projects we don't see them getting involved, or maybe get involved but we don't see this implemented on the ground.

Why? Shouldn't the architects and planners raise their voices higher? Are they making enough to educate and participate in shapping the city?

If the decision makers don't have the knowledge to understand the city Urban planning and development. Shouldn't the architects become more proactive, and stand up for what they see as right or wrong?

Our architects and Urban planners need to be more involved, and have more power participating in the the decision making process. Then we see more mature projects than this one, or Jordan Gate, or Abdali, or Ras El-Ein, or Rainbow street, or Wakalat, or the new expansion strategy .
Then, we re-imagine Amman with more parks, and pedestrian and less cars, we see Amman with streeets as civic places, more trees, less pollution and noise.

Related Posts:
We need Amman to be environmentaly sustainable and green
Regarding the new GAM Interim Strategy
Amman City Streets
Building what and why Amman?
Opening of the complex travel north and the conversion of Abdali into Garden
Promoting for transportation alternatives in Amman City

November 23, 2007

Housing for Limited income people bought by High income people.

Saraya Aqaba, 1 villa cost JD1.5 million which also buy 75 housing units at Al-Majd affordable Housing project, photo by Emad Salameh

"Construction work on the $350 million Madinat Al Majd project in Zarqa, which entails the creation of 18,500 residential units targeting limited-income people, began on Wednesday.

The residential city, to be created over 2 million square metres and accommodate some 50,000 inhabitants, will include houses of different sizes that will be sold at “affordable” prices starting from JD18,000 per apartment.

Madinat Al Majd also house a large mosque, schools, a medical community, cultural and shopping centres.

The first phase of the project, which will see the construction of some 500 housing units, will be completed in one year, adding that the project will help meet the increasing demand for small-sized apartments.

A recent study on civil servants conducted by HUDC indicated the demand for such apartments exceeds 60,000 while the total demand for housing in the Kingdom currently stands at 200,000 units.

Madinat Al Majd, the first housing project to be developed for the limited-income segment, will be a significant architectural landmark in Jordan. It would provide the wider community with the chance to own homes in a healthy environment for a monthly payment similar to what they would pay in rent.

Noting that the project is the result of cooperation between the public and private sectors, and it it has received the full support of the government.

Over the next six months, Tameer will announce a series of projects to be implemented in the Kingdom, including the construction of a residential city for high-income earning individuals, as well as towers, malls and commercial buildings.

Four residential cities will be built in the near future: One in Amman called “Ahl Alazm”, and three in the Balqa, Irbid and Aqaba governorates."

When I saw this project being marketed at Cityscape Dubai in Oct 2007, the first phase of the project with the 500 units were SOLD OUT during the first exhibition day for about 20,000 JD a unit, but, who bought them and for whom it was marketed at Cityscape Dubai 2007, the irony it was for the real estate brokers and the business buyers.

This project got the cooperation from the public and private sectors and the support and the blessing of the government as the first "affordable" housing project targeting the limited income, so we assume that the buyer is the limited income citizen.

When you position yourself as a limited income housing you need to make sure that the buyer is the limited income buyer and before you get the payments you need to ask for the bank statements and proofs that the buyer is in need for an affordable house, meeting your based targets.

Did this happen?

Maybe this goes to "lessons learned" category which we hear it often these days. However, in the next "Affordable" projects I wish this will be in forced.

Or it might go to the category of: " Investors incentives", "Special strategical planning", etc, etc

Related Posts:

We need Amman to be environmentaly sustainable and green

Regarding the new GAM Interim Strategy

Smoking in Public

Amman City Streets

Building what and why Amman?

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November 22, 2007

Our citizen

مسكين هذا المواطن ، المحني كعود ثقاب ، البسيط كسيجارة ، المهموم كمطارد، المنسي كشهيد ، ذو اللحية الشوكية و الشعر المموج ،ذو السعلة الحادة ،والصوت المخدوش بكلمة ، صاحب الضحكة المبتسرة ، والأسنان المثلمة ، والشفاه الزرقاء ، المحروم من كل شيء .ذلك العائد الى بيته بساقين نحيلتين ملتفتين فوق رصيف يومي لا تتغير ملامحه ولا تزداد أناته ، مسكين هذا المواطن.. لقد أصبح مثل (رسالة سلمى) كل يقرأه على هواه ..

المرشح يراه (صوتاً) يمشي على الأرض، كنترول الباص يراه (بريزة) ، وسائق الشاحنة يراه (قطة) ، وشرطي النجدة يراه (شبهة)، الغني يراه (صدقه) ،الخباز يراه (رغيفاً) ، الشحاذ يراه(رديفاً) ، الزوجة تراه (قسمة) ،والأولاد يرونه (صرافاً الياً) ،المؤجر يراه (شهراً) ، الحكومة تراه (رقماً)، ديوان الخدمة يراه (عبئاً) ، الليل يراه (جرذاً) ، أمريكا تراه (رصاصة) ،الأونروا تراه (قصاصة) ، الصليب الأحمر يراه (جرحاً)..وملك الموت يراه (زبوناً) مملاً..

*** ذات يوم وأثناء عودته ، توقف في منتصف الطريق ، دخل استديو عتيق ،التفت خائفاً ، ثم جلس على كرسي التصوير ، طلب صورة شخصية ليتأكد ( أي الأشياء هو ) ..لمع ضوء فضي على ملامحه الممسوحة، حرك المصور كرت الصورة ألف مره حتى جف اللون ثم ناولها للزبون الغريب ..تأملها الرجل جيداً، رفعها باتجاه الضوء الخافت ، ثم ضحك طويلاً... و... مات ...

أحمد حسن الزعبي

I was just hoping at the end of the poem when he looked at the picture that he WOKE UP!

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November 20, 2007

Elections Today ... Now and Then

Jordanian artist Wissam Shadid works on a 60 square metre piece of graffiti in Amman as part of a campaign led by the Jordan Media Strengthening Programme, an IREX media initiative, and other civil society organisations, aimed at stimulating more public participation in the November 20 parliamentary polls.
Hopefully we see more of these beautiful Graffiti after the elections. I hope that the same effort and enthusiasm will continue in promoting for awareness, volunteering, education, development, etc.
Many of our limited resources were spent on these campaigns. Will anyone be interested to spend as much money as they did in the last month to support a cause?
I heard that a single campaign cost about a $1 million. Not sure how much money were spent in total, add to that the lost opportunities of time and effort spent in campaigning. Will the same people be as much excited and aggressive in working for Amman city and Jordan? I wish it will be worth the effort to get the right people the right positions, so we say we do have an effective democracy.
In these coming years, Jordan is facing great opportunities if not challenges to stand as one of the best developing places in the region. This can be done if we have an effective leaders who have the competency to change and develop.
lets hope they will. But, I don't know yet who deserve my vote and whom I will be voting for!!!
Maybe I need another round in the streets of Amman to understand these banners, and ofcourse they were posted in the streets of the city targetting drivers since our lovely public spaces are streets made for people driving their cars.
So I wounder, after 4 years .... to be continued!This is something to talk about in my next post, like what most people say: After The Elections!

November 19, 2007

Jordan and the world On-line

"Recognize this planet? if your business is online, it's where your potential customers live."

Other countries:

Jordan %11.7 ( 0.63 million)
US %70
Israel %55
Sweden %77
Germany %61
China %10 (144 million)
UAE %35 ( 1.3 million)

In other data shows the following:

The percentage of internet penetration in the Arabic world is 2% from the world percentage
the average world growth is %250, and the Arabic world growth is %450, the highest in the world.

Other maps might show rates of poverty, diseases and health, forests and deserts, or growing trade and economy. I love maps, I will be searching for more maps and post them here, but unfortunately, in our nations we lack the availability of data and we think maps are only used for the Army or in a geography class. Woke up people! Not anymore...

November 14, 2007


I got this from a Friend and I wanted to share it with the "Ammanies" posting it in Amman Voice Blog:


The Italian cities represent a worldwide patrimony of Mankind, and for the Italian Nation, an un-valuable richness.
Their skyline reflects a true millennial civilization and an un-beatable trademark. The edifices that arise higher than the urban fabric always express the community values:the church, the public palace, the Municipal Building, the Town Hall, the Government, etc.

The alarm spread all over the world by the media on the risks caused by the proposed new skyscrapers in Turin reveals a severe menace for both the un-matchable skyline of the city and the Italian's reputation in the world.
Not only do the proposed skyscrapers express in their box-like aesthetic a sad and banal nostalgia for the building catastrophes of the 1950s and 1960s, but they introduce too a huge alteration of the democratic and economic principles of a modern civilized society.
Either every citizen holds the right to build a skyscraper -as it happens in a few areas of American cities such as Up-town and Mid-town Manhattan- or nobody does it -like in the Village at New York City, in Washington DC, Paris, etc.
A Vision of Europe and the Fondation pour l'Architecture do strongly recommend your intervention in order to avoid the aggression to the elegant skyline of the Italian cities, protect the architectural heritage of the Italian cities, promote a new policy of sustainable Urban Renaissance. A truly innovative one after the many dysasters of the 1950s and 1970s. A policy which will be respectful of the great Classical tradition of Italy.


If you want to support A Vision of Europe International Campaign, you will find HERE the letter ( ENGL ) . It would be great if you can print it, sign it in, and send it to both authorities with an e-mail copy to: and .
Many thanks for your help for the beautiful city that we all love ! Se vuoi dare il

mail address:
della Repubblica Italiana
Presidenza della Repubblica
Palazzo del Quirinale, Piazza del Quirinale
del Comune di Torino
Palazzo Civico
Piazza Palazzo di Città, 1
10122 Torino email , FAX: Comune di Torino
Ufficio Stampa del Consiglio Comunale
Tel: +39.011.4422526
Fax: +39.011.4423360

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November 12, 2007

A 1000 car Campaign Or a 1000 tree to remember 9/11?

We remembered our martyrs this week with sorrow and blessings to protect our country and it's peaceful citizens from any harm.

Not sure who was behind this campaign, however, I knew that it wasn't officially approved, but, still some cars did participate in the campaign as we can see in the pictures below.

Is this how we campaign to remember our martyrs by driving our cars across the street.

Instead of promoting for streets as public spaces, pedestrian friendly, we promote for our causes by driving our cars!!!

I never seen this in any civilized world, a 1000 car campaign !!!

What's wrong with walking in silence, remembering our martyrs with respect and peace while celebrating our clean streets?

Why not instead of campaigning by driving, we walk?

What if instead of every Car we planted a Tree and we gave them a name of the 9/11 martyrs. We see them growing and we remember them every day in our streets.

I am sure whoever planned for this made a huge effort to promote for it, and he/she was thinking out of his heart and love to his country and people to remember 9/11.

Maybe next year we plant together a 1000 tree.

On the other hand, I must mention here other similar events when we win a soccer match, or a music award we fill our streets with cars cycling our streets for hours to celebrate.

Shouldn't this stop? maybe one day.

The GAM is working hard to control our public streets, and make it pedestrian friendly, with less traffic, and less pollution. We need to educate ourselves about the harm of cars and traffic and it's effect on the environment and city life.

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