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Lack of public spaces, inefficient public transportation in capital come under spotlight

By Andrea López-Tomàs - Jan 27,2018 - Last updated at Jan 27,2018

AMMAN — More efforts and investments are needed to address the lack of public spaces in Amman and the inefficient public transportation system, as well as to enhance citizens’ responsibility towards making Amman “a better place to live”, experts agreed.

They made their remarks on Thursday, during an event held by the French Institute of Jordan under the theme “Dreaming Amman”.

Dubbed “the Night of Ideas”, the event sought to discuss the future of the capital with the participation of members of the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) and civil society organisations based in Amman.

“We need to create a sense of belonging to the city,” said an architect and urban planner Rami Daher during the event, denouncing the lack of “public spaces” in the city. 

“Just a very exclusive type of public space is being created which leads to geographies of inequality,” he insisted. 

The architect, along with the audience, asked for a bigger involvement of the state in the future development of the Jordanian capital with most of the claims focusing on transportation and public projects targeting the whole Ammani society. 

Nemeh Qatanani, GAM’s engineering director, referred to the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which he said would help improve public transportation.

“The share of the public transport is very humble currently, with 5 per cent of rides made by buses and 8 per cent by shared taxi,” Qatanani stated. 

GAM highlighted its keenness to complete an organised public transportation system. “Between 20 and 25 per cent of household income of the Amman population is used for mobility expenses solely,” he said.

Three local non-profit organisations took part in the discussion, including Ruwwad, a civil society initiative started in 2006 which is now present in Lebanon, Egypt and Palestine as well as Jordan. 

Members of the organisation shed light on the particularities of Amman, underlining the need for collaboration between the private and public sectors in building the future of the capital. 

“Kids should never stop dreaming and engaging in the future of their city,” said Rawan, one of Ruwwad members. 

Ahl Al Balad organisation echoed similar remarks.

 “We all have a responsibility towards the city, whether you have been living here for one year or a hundred,” said Mohammad Asfour, member of Ahl Al Balad and a psychology expert. 

The non-profit organisation focuses on keeping the city of Amman clean, as well as other landscapes across Jordan. 

Aya Rababaa’a, an architect and a member of Ahl Al Balad, emphasised the importance of “engaging the new generations” in creating a cleaner Jordan. 

Members of Shams community, which works to enhance citizens’ critical thinking through debates and weekly discussions, stressed their efforts to engage Ammanis in regional issues.

“To make a change is our responsibility as citizens of Amman,” said Saeed Abu Al Hassan, one of Shams Community representatives. 

 

“I cannot imagine the future of the city without the involvement of the youth,” Daher concluded

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