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170420 amman cover image
Read Water Urbanism: Amman online here.
Water Urbanism: Amman

Urban Design Studio III, Spring 2017

Kate Orff (Coordinator), Nora Akawi, Dilip DaCunha, Ziad Jamaleddine, Petra Kempf, Laura Kurgan, Geeta Mehta, Julia Watson

The Jordan River Valley runs through heart of Middle East and serves as a border zone, a landscape symbol, a space of cultural and religious heritage, and an agricultural lifeline for the region. It carries deep links between ancient water infrastructure and civilization. How can Amman adapt to water scarcity and extreme heat? Amman, situated to the east of the valley, is the capital of Jordan and the country’s economic, political and cultural center. The city has a population of over 4 million and a land area of approximately 650 square miles. With Syria enmeshed in a tragic and violent conflict to the North, Saudi Arabia and Egypt to the South, and Israel to the east, Jordan has traditionally played a mediating and relatively stabilizing role. However internal and transborder migration patterns combined with environmental stressors and overtaxed infrastructure have shifted political dynamics. While some spaces in the River valley are lush wetland ecosystems, in other zones the water is channeled into narrow, polluted linear drains. Water diversion from the valley has reduced its flows to a fraction of historic levels. The Dead Sea water levels are dropping precipitously leaving behind a wake of hazardous sinkholes and an abandoned tourist economy. Agriculture and industry demand on the region’s water supply conflict with daily subsistence use by poorer communities and for urban uses, all of which are further exacerbated by Israeli Palestinian conflict. Many water bodies are in a state of decline with increasing environmental degradation and pollution from human waste and industrial effluent. The studio considered the future of Amman as a living organism as it continues to experience growth, both on a temporary and permanent basis. Student projects aim to discover: what are alternative spatial and political organizations possible relative to water new eco-agro-industrial paradigms? What are the economic investments that will characterize next century Amman, and how can urban design scenarios that are based on resource recovery instead of extraction & waste paradigms advance change? How can borderlands become spaces of production and exchange?

Ahmed Saeed Jawdat, Andrea Benavides Ward, Bridgett Ivanova Cruz, Daiyue Lyu, Dongfang Pang, Gabriela Fiorentino, Haochen Yang, Huai-Kuan Chung, Jiahong Lu, Jiaqi Sun, Jinbao Liu, Kun Qian, Majed Abdulsamad, Isabel Carrasco. Mayra I Mahmood, Mengke Wu, Nishchal Agarwal, Ping Yin, Shuman Wu, Sreyash Dasgupta, Vrinda Sharma, Wanpeng Zu, Yang Liao, Yanyan Xu, Yuting Pan, Zarith Itzel Pineda, Zhaoyu Zhu, and Zhen Quan.