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New strategic vision for Amman

The appointment of Mr Omar Al Maani as Mayor of Greater Amman Municipality, entrusted to lead a team for preparing a master plan for the city of Amman, has brought to mind Urban Planning and the more strategic issues of city master planning.

Cities nowadays are very busy places to live in, therefore we need new perspectives of cities, and to know what the dream, knowledge and motivation each city provides to us.

Studies have shown that in order to have a perfect city, it should be composed of six important parts: Intellectual and social capital, democratic capital, cultural capital, environmental capital, technical capital and financial capital.

Intellectual and social capital means that the appropriate people, skills and capabilities are developed. The democratic capital means that there is a process of participation and consultation by the public, which proves that there is public transparency and accountability. The cultural capital means that there is a strong city brand, which is a differentiating factor from other competing cities. The environmental capital is a city that is green, clean and safe, allowing a certain standard of quality of living. The technical capital is the infrastructure-energy, transportation, water and electricity, and technologies used in this city.

Finally, the financial capital is the money and assets needed to achieve all the above. But the real challenge is to manage all these capitals and provide the right balance between them. There are approximately 400 cities in the world each populated by more than one million citizens. Tokyo is considered the largest metropolitan area inhabited by 28 million citizens followed by New York City with over 20 million. According to the United Nations’ HABITAT report, 60 percent of the world’s population will live in a city by 2030. From these facts and studies we easily conclude that it is of paramount importance to have cities with high quality of living standards because simply it will improve not just the way people live and deal with each other, but will attract investments and new projects.

Having a quick look at Amman, it definitely is a unique city. Beautiful weather, unique and attractive architecture since most buildings consist of one or two floors, with extremely attractive stone external façades, in different colors and textures. While the standard is high, there are still many areas for improvement in Amman, within the six capital domains mentioned above. One might argue the relevance of all this to business.

Well, it has to do everything with business, a beautiful city with a unique theme will attract visitors, businesses and investments, in addition to improving the way people communicate and deal with each other. People nowadays are escaping from congested cities to country areas, for more privacy and because of pollution, noise and traffic. A strategic study on the new vision for Amman is highly recommended at this stage, in addition to a master planning initiative, in order to have a holistic and comprehensive view on how to better and improve an amazing city such as Amman.

Amman,06 06 2006
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