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Mayer of Amman's Efforts in Creating the Amman Master Plan 2025 Commended During Discussion on Rethinking Urban Spaces Convened at the Columbia University Middle East Research Center

CUMERC/AMMAN LAB, JUNE 15, 2010

An innovative discussion on rethinking urban spaces was held on the evening of June 15 at the Columbia University Middle East Research Center (CUMERC). The event, which was open to the public, marked the unveiling and launch of two collaborative projects in the field of urban and community planning.

The discussion on the Amman Master Plan 2025 featured remarks by the Mayor of Amman, H.E. Omar Maani, followed by a presentation by Dr. Robert Beauregard, Professor and Director of the Urban Planning Program at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP). Dr. Safwan Masri, Director of CUMERC, introduced the speakers and emphasized Columbia’s commitment to bridging partnerships with local experts, while also contributing to local knowledge.

The Amman Plan Report was a collaboration facilitated by CUMERC with the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM), the Amman Institute for Urban Development, and Urban Planning at GSAPP. The report, which was based on research previously conducted by a team of faculty and students at GSAPP, aims to document the dynamic process through which GAM, under the guidance and leadership of the Mayor of Amman, prepared its first official Amman Plan for developing the city’s urban infrastructure.

The results and recommendations of the urban planning studio course conducted with GSAPP’s Sustainable Living Urban Model Lab (S.L.U.M Lab) in the spring were also announced at the event. Through CUMERC and in partnership with Jordan’s Ministry of Social Development, GSAPP students and faculty have been researching, designing, and drafting prospective plans that will help to create new community spaces and sustainable youth centers for the district of Russeifeh offering a safe environment for creative pursuits, sports, and other activities. In a presentation on S.L.U.M Lab, GSAPP Professors Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner shared the results of the research and proposed a new vision for Russeifeh and outlined several potential projects that would direct youth toward community involvement and development.

S.L.U.M Lab was brought to Jordan through CUMERC and the Ministry of Social Development with the direction of H.E. Hala Lattouf who identified the need for the creation of public spaces in Russeifeh. Similar labs have been successfully implemented by the Urban Think Tank in Brazil, Venezuela, Holland, and the United States. Several roundtables involving the active participation of various ministries including the Minister of Environment, H.E. Hazem Malhas, in addition to community-based and grassroots organizations have been convened over the past few months to ensure the success and buy-in of these efforts.

The presentations were followed by a panel discussion with a range of experts, academics and community leaders who further discussed next steps for urban planning and development in Jordan. The following day, an interactive mosaic workshop was held in Russeifeh with GSAAP students and local youth in coordination with the Ministry of Education, El Hassan Youth Award, and the Institute of Traditional Islamic Art and Architecture.

More photos from this event are on our flickr.