A New Amman

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Mon 23 October / Oct 2017. 12:00 AM
  • Fahed Khitan

The news on the Prime Minister Hani Mulqi’s New Amman project caught traction like hay catches fire.

Naturally, the public’s response ranged from cautious welcoming to the all-too-well-known sarcasm of Jordanians, and rightly so.

This would not, by far, be the first promise a prime minister has ever given Jordanians on massive developmental projects which have never seen the light.

I suppose the premier deliberately brought it up during his meeting with the press and media to make sure it catches media traction, to bring in as much feedback as possible.

Not much is disclosed on the project. Just the complete blueprints, short of the location and every other relative piece of information.

Of course, one reason why the location of this New Amman remains undisclosed is to make sure realtors do not scavenge over the landscape and drive up land value.

As a pre-emptive measure, to make sure the influential parties in the decision making halls do not exploit it, I suggest freezing land sale and acquisition in the designated area, if possible, legally speaking.

If not, maybe find an informal way to make sure that the original owners of the land make the profit, instead of the profiteers.

That said, the first question that comes to mind is; where will the government get the money for such a massive project with the treasury is broke and all?!

Obviously, the project is based on partnerships with the private sector, like all other recent projects.

All the government has to do is prepare the infrastructure for construction, and the private sector will take it from there.

The government’s initial idea was to construct a government complex while the remaining territories around it would furnished with residential buildings and service facilities, including schools, hospitals and shopping malls.

Jordanians have always been intrigued by the idea, seeing their capital become increasingly overcrowded by the year, with all the traffic and the urban deformations of what was once a beautiful city!

For years, the government has ignored the public’s call to redirect urban expansions east and south, towards what could be described as a second city.

Realistically speaking, Amman was expanded in all directions.

The Capital now embeds so many ‘cities’ within it, in terms of capacity to service ratios, that it can no longer be sufficiently and effectively serviced by a single epicentre.

The Greater Amman Municipality, all too similar to the city itself, is overstaffed and weary with bureaucracy. It can no longer meet the requirements of modernity in Amman as we know it.

Perhaps New Amman, like the New Cairo project, will give us the golden opportunity to construct our model city with what it takes to enter the age of modernity.

Our city, our urban identity, which reflects who we are. A human and eco-friendly city.

Economically speaking, this project, if it does see the light, it will provide Jordanians with thousands of jobs for a long time.

No other project can create as many job opportunities as this!

Such a project must see light, and it can, but it must be prefaced by dialogue with specialists and citizens, and the government should also include experts and specialists in the planning phase.

This could be the one project to bring all Jordanians together, to see their Capital reborn anew!

This article is an edited translation of the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.