Improving green infrastructure in Amman
Title: Improving Living Conditions in disadvantaged Areas of Amman
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Environment
Overall term: 2017 to 2021
Cities in Jordan, one of the most arid countries in the world, are growing rapidly. In just ten years, the population of the capital Amman has doubled from 1.9 million in 2004 to over four million in 2015. The vast majority of immigrants and refugees settled in East Amman, which is more densely populated and disadvantaged than other areas in the capital. The already overstretched infrastructure is overburdened by the newcomers. The planning of public green spaces wasn’t prioritized during the rapid urbanization. As a result, East Amman has become a concrete jungle where the population has little access to green public open spaces.
Inhabitants of these urban areas are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change and extreme weather events. This particularly applies to the annually recurring floods. The very low share of urban green public open spaces (accounting for around just 2.5 per cent of the city) worsens air quality, increases the urban heat island effect and puts the remaining biodiversity under pressure. Civil society has hardly been involved in planning and implementing infrastructural projects, and women and children in particular had limited opportunities to play a role in shaping their living space.
The participatory development of green spaces in Amman’s disadvantaged areas has been improved through implementing pilot projects and strengthening Jordanian partners.
The project is working in close partnership with the Jordanian Ministry of the Environment and Greater Amman Municipality. In three construction measures, the project exemplifies elements of green infrastructure and thus illustrates urban greening alternatives. The improved and newly created recreational areas contribute to improving residents’ quality of life. Green infrastructure networks facilitate access to local public transport, increase walkability, preserve biodiversity and mitigate urban heatwaves. Sustainable urban drainage systems are designed to ease the burden on the stormwater infrastructure and reduce construction and maintenance costs. Local architects and engineers handle the design, supervision and construction process.
Local residents are being involved in planning and designing the pilot projects. The design of the green infrastructure elements is realised in a gender-specific manner. Gender-specific activities in the design workshops identify women’s particular needs; these are further incorporated into the public open spaces final design. By planning public open spaces as areas of interaction, integration and social cohesion are improved. The involvement of Jordanian and non-Jordanian women in the process contributes to peaceful and inclusive urban development.
Knowledge transfer is improving Greater Amman Municipality’s capacity and on-the-job trainings increase knowledge and experience of selected employees. The staff of the Ministry of Environment are also involved in training activities to bolster the potential of green infrastructure development in climate and environmental policy.
By modelling the designs of the pilot project and presenting the benefits of green infrastructure in adapting cities to climate change, the project is promoting the conservation of natural resources. The newly generated knowledge is raising counterparts’ awareness of the social, environmental and economic benefits of green infrastructure. These benefits are communicated using exchange meetings and other Ministry of Environment dialogue platforms.
The participatory designs actively contribute to Amman’s urban resilience and climate change mitigation and support local adaptation to climate change. An estimated 70 beneficiaries were directly involved in designing the mitigation elements, through several community design workshops and participatory activities.
The Ministry of Environment and Greater Amman Municipality are capitalizing on the added value of green infrastructure and are incorporating the project’s approach into strategic documents, e.g. the ‘Amman Climate Plan’.